Repeat offender admits to being part of $365k heist

A recalcitrant offender, who had served multiple jail terms for earlier offences including assault, took part in a heist involving $365,000 in cash on April 8, 2018.

Mohd Abdul Rahman Mohamad was arrested two days later and was out on bail when he broke into a house to commit theft on June 26. He was re-arrested the next day.

Abdul Rahman, 39, who is in remand, pleaded guilty in a district court yesterday to one count of robbery and two of housebreaking.

He was the last man linked to the April 2018 robbery to be convicted. Two others - Syed Mokhtar Syed Yusope, 39, and Jaromel Gee Ming Li, 30 - were each sentenced to jail and caning last September.

The court heard that Gee had been involved in a bitcoin brokerage. In April 2018, he hatched a plan with Abdul Rahman to rob prospective bitcoin buyers.

On April 8, Malaysian Pang Joon Hau arrived at a Hotel 81 branch in Middle Road with $365,000 as he wanted to buy bitcoins from sellers in Singapore. Gee learnt of this from a contact and alerted Abdul Rahman, telling him to take along another person to commit the robbery.

Abdul Rahman contacted Mokhtar, who was tasked to "intimidate and assault the victims". They went to the hotel around 11pm and met bitcoin broker Lee Chee Kwok, before going to Mr Pang's room.

Deputy public prosecutors Chin Jincheng and Chong Yong stated in court documents: "Pang showed the money to Mokhtar, and Mokhtar proceeded to punch Pang once on the left cheek. Lee attempted to intervene, but Mokhtar punched him."

Abdul Rahman grabbed a backpack containing the cash and fled the scene with Mokhtar. The police were alerted and Abdul Rahman was arrested at a Sentosa hotel on April 10. The court heard he had used some of the loot to buy items including jewellery. The remaining cash was not recovered and no restitution was made.

Abdul Rahman broke into a house in March 2018 and stole valuables worth over $100,000, none of which was recovered. He made no restitution. He broke into another house in June 2018 and stole a safe with valuables worth around $9,000. He abandoned the safe when he failed to open it. Police found it in some bushes near the house.

Abdul Rahman will be sentenced on April 28.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2021, with the headline 'Repeat offender admits to being part of $365k heist'. Subscribe