Maxi-Cash cashier who robbed pawnbroker sentenced to reformative training

SINGAPORE - A former cashier with pawnbroker Maxi-Cash who robbed his then-employer of $570,000 in jewellery and cash was on Monday sentenced to reformative training. This is a strict regime in which offenders under 21 are kept behind bars for between 1½ and three years as they undergo structured rehabilitation programmes.

Jonathan Tan Jia Huang, 20, had asked the court to sentence him to jail, saying that he turns 21 in three weeks, and that a previous stint of reformative training had failed. When District Judge Ng Peng Hong rejected the request, Tan said: "In that case, I will not change." The judge replied: "The decision to change is yours."

Besides the robbery charge, Tan also pleaded guilty to stealing a wallet and using two other persons' NRICs to check into a hotel and sign up for a mobile phone plan.

Around 12.50pm on Jan 12 this year, Ng, who held keys to the cash drawer and the display shelves and cabinets storing gold and jewellery, grabbed the items when his colleague went to the toilet. She tried to stop him when he tried to exit the shop on Tampines Central 1, but he pushed her aside, causing bruising on her arm, and headed on bicycle to a multi-storey carpark nearby.

This was where an accomplice was said to be waiting with a getaway vehicle. The duo drove away with the loot, of which $29,000 has not been recovered.

The case against Tan's 21-year-old accomplice, tattoo artist Alfrey Koh Chan Hoe, is still pending.

For robbery, Tan could have been jailed between two and 10 years and given at least six strokes of the cane.

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