The prosecution is appealing against what it called the "manifestly inadequate" six-year jail term for a former tour guide from China, Yang Yin, who misappropriated $1.1 million from an elderly Singaporean widow.
"The sentence does not adequately reflect the true criminality of Mr Yang's conduct," said the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) in a statement yesterday.
Last Friday, Principal District Judge Bala Reddy had sentenced Yang, 42, to six years' imprisonment for committing two criminal breach of trust offences. The Chinese national had misappropriated $500,000 and $600,000 from 89-year-old Madam Chung Khin Chun in 2010 and 2012 .
Elaborating on the decision to file a notice of appeal yesterday, the AGC said the court had not given adequate consideration to two features of the case.
First, Yang was a foreigner who had come to Singapore with the aim of committing criminal acts.
"Secondly, not only did he take advantage of a vulnerable elderly person, (but) he has also failed to disclose the full extent of his criminality, return any portion of the misappropriated monies, and he has not shown any remorse," added the AGC.
The prosecution had originally asked for a deterrent sentence of 10 to 12 years.
Judge Reddy, however, said in his grounds of decision last week that a deterrent sentence need not be "crushing", adding that 10 to 12 years' imprisonment would be "manifestly excessive".
Apart from the criminal breach of trust, Yang was also jailed for two years and two months for a slew of crimes regarding his immigration status, including falsifying receipts for a sham company in order to stay in Singapore.
Though the former tour guide faces a total of eight years and two months in jail, his 26-month sentence was backdated to Oct 31, 2014, when he was taken into remand. Together with a possible one-third remission of the sentence for good behaviour , it could mean a much shorter jail term for Yang.
Yesterday, Madam Chung's niece, Madam Hedy Mok, told The Straits Times she was glad to hear the prosecution had filed a notice of appeal.
"What he (Yang) got was incredibly lenient," said the 62-year-old tour agency owner.
Yang's lawyer Irving Choh said: "We cannot stop the prosecution from appealing but from the comprehensive reasons set out by the learned judge Bala Reddy, it appears that he had meted out a just, fair and proportionate sentence under the circumstances to Yang Yin."