Man reoffends after long prison term

He pleads guilty to 16 charges, including role in kidnapping case

A recalcitrant offender who left prison in 2016 after serving a 12-year corrective training (CT) sentence returned to a life of crime, committing a string of offences, including armed robbery and drug abuse.

CT is meted out to repeat offenders who are not eligible for the usual one-third remission for good behaviour. The maximum period for such a sentence is 14 years.

Chew Guan Mong, 45, who had been convicted earlier of robbery and housebreaking, pleaded guilty yesterday to 16 charges for a range of offences, including facilitating the retention of criminal conduct, vandalism and being in possession of a weapon.

The court was told that Chew was involved in a kidnapping case in which he agreed to collect $80,000 in ransom from the victim's father in 2017.

He did so despite having reason to believe that the cash was linked to criminal conduct.

Chew roped in another man, Alexander Tay Tong Sing, 23, to collect the cash on Aug 18, 2017.

The court heard that the kidnapping case involved a 41-year-old man called Goh Chun Kiat who made plans to illegally flee from Singapore after he was arrested over alleged cheating offences.

While out on bail, Goh contacted Malaysian Ng Tak Meng, 33, who is believed to be a member of a human trafficking syndicate, and agreed to pay the younger man $12,000 to facilitate his escape.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Chong said that Ng then arranged for six unidentified men to kidnap the Singaporean in Johor Baru and extort a ransom from Goh's family.

 

According to court documents, Goh unlawfully left Singapore by sea on Aug 17, 2017, and was later kidnapped in Malaysia.

Chew was then told to collect the $80,000 and, the next day, he directed Tay to meet Goh's father to collect the ransom.

The pair then took $1,000 each as their cut and passed the remaining $78,000 to Andrew Yeo Feng Hua, 28, who was sentenced to six months' jail in March for his role in the case.

Court documents did not reveal how Goh was released, but he is back in Singapore and is currently facing more than 100 charges, including cheating.

In a separate and unrelated case, Chew was driving a rented car along the Pan-Island Expressway at around 1.20pm on Jan 5 last year when it hit a bus, some guard railings and a wall.

He got out of the vehicle and ran towards a car driven by a 40-year-old woman. Armed with a sickle, he ordered her to alight and she complied out of fear.

Chew then drove to Woodlands Checkpoint in her car and intentionally crashed through a traffic control barrier. He was arrested soon after, the court heard.

Chew will be back in court on Sept 17.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2019, with the headline 'Man reoffends after long prison term'. Print Edition | Subscribe