Robber who drugged victims gets 12 years' preventive detention

A recalcitrant offender, who resumed his criminal ways shortly after undergoing six years of corrective training behind bars, was yesterday slapped with 12 years of preventive detention to protect the public from him.

In 2011, Mohd Haslam Ismail was sentenced to six years' corrective training for drugging a woman before taking her valuables.

Shortly after his release in 2017, he robbed four different women after drugging them on different occasions in October 2018.

The 56-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty last month to two counts of robbery involving two women. He also admitted to one count of dishonest misappropriation of property. Two robbery charges involving two other victims were considered during sentencing.

At about 6am on Oct 17, 2018, he met a Vietnamese woman in an Orchard Towers club and they then went to a hawker centre in Balestier.

Haslam bought two cans of beer and offered one, which he had spiked with sleep-inducing drug Midazolam, to the woman.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh said: "After drinking the beer bought by the accused, the victim felt dizzy. The next thing that the victim knew, she was alone in a room in Balestier Hotel where she discovered some of her properties missing."

They included $920 in cash and a mobile phone. The woman alerted the police later that day, the court heard.

Haslam committed a similar offence a few days later when he met a Chinese national near Sophia Road at about 9pm.

This time, he made off with valuables including two mobile phones and $60 in cash.

The police were notified at around 1.40am on Oct 24, 2018, and officers arrested Haslam later that day at Sultan Plaza in Jalan Sultan near Beach Road.


Items that did not belong to him, such as a mobile phone and jewellery, were found in his possession. He also had with him some pink pills which contained Midazolam.

Both corrective training and preventive detention are for repeat offenders. They do not offer the usual one-third remission for good behaviour.

Corrective training is usually imposed when the court finds that the offender needs a substantial period of corrective training for reformation and the prevention of crime. The maximum period for corrective training is 14 years.

In preventive detention, a repeat offender aged over 30 receives a substantial period of imprisonment to protect the public.

The detention order can last up to 20 years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2020, with the headline 'Robber who drugged victims gets 12 years' preventive detention'. Subscribe