Reformative training for terror teen

A 15-year-old's life turned into a nightmare when he pursued a girl of the same age who refused to be his girlfriend.

After she complained to an older boy, the teen was beaten, had cash taken from him, was robbed of his laptop and asked to pay $10,000 to a gang for ruining its "reputation".

The 15-year-old began pestering the girl, a China national, in October last year. When she rebuffed him, he turned aggressive and called her a prostitute.

She complained to Wang Zhen, 16, also a China national, and he told Bryan Lim Jun Ying, 17, about it.

Wang got the 15-year-old boy to go to Causeway Point on Dec 27 last year for "settlement talks''.

Lim, who orchestrated the attacks, and nine others led the teen to the carpark at Level 5. There, Lim punched him with a knuckleduster and another person named Jason - who is at large - punched and kicked him. Bleeding, the boy managed to flee.

The same evening, Lim called and told him to bring some cash for a meeting. At a coffee ship near Choa Chu Kang MRT station, Lim demanded $100 as an apology to the girl. The victim paid out of fear. Lim then said the "boss'' of his gang wanted the boy to pay $10,000 for ruining its reputation.

He asked the boy to pay $5,000 by end-February, saying he had paid the balance. Lim also took $400 from the boy. The victim and the girl cannot be named as they are younger than 16.

On Jan 4 this year, the boy ignored his text message asking for a meeting. The next day, Lim, Wang and four others went to his home, where Lim took $250 from the frightened boy and his $2,499 laptop.

Wang's case is pending.

Yesterday, District Judge May Mesenas sentenced Lim to reformative training on five of 10 charges. She noted that despite a guidance programme in 2015, he had not learnt his lesson. Instead, he had gone on to commit very serious offences.

She allowed his lawyer's application to defer sentence until Jan 12. Lim is out on a $20,000 bail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2017, with the headline 'Reformative training for terror teen'. Print Edition | Subscribe