Ruse and robbery: Man gets 7 years' jail, 12 strokes

39-year-old, with another man, robbed two women after luring them to condo and tying them up

Two women were robbed of their expensive watches and one of them was forced to write a cheque for $100,000 when they were lured to a rented flat, threatened and tied up.

Yesterday, Andrew Sim Kheng Joo, 39, was sentenced to seven years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to robbing Ms Khong Zhi Hui, 30, of the cheque and and her Patek Philippe watch worth $50,000 while armed with a penknife.

He also admitted threatening to harm Ms Khong and her friend, Ms Karen Soh Geok Peng, 47, if they reported the robbery to the police.

His co-accused, Octavius Tok Tien Howe, 43, whose case is yet to be heard, punched Ms Khong in her mouth and stomach during the robbery on May 25 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang said it was Tok who had roped Sim into committing the robbery. Tok had also made arrangements to rent an apartment in Cradels condominium in Lorong Limau in the Balestier area.

The court heard that he was a customer of Ms Soh's, who sold handbags at Far East Plaza. He called her on May 24 last year, purportedly to sell her some bags.

The next day, Tok drove and dropped Sim off at Whampoa Market to buy duct tape, two penknives and a pre-paid SIM card, while he went to meet a property agent. He then picked Sim up and took him to the flat, and told him that he was to grab the victims once they entered and tape their mouths and hands.

DPP Pang said that later, Ms Soh and Ms Khong followed Tok's car to the condominium where, they were told, the bags would be.

Once they were inside, Tok grabbed Ms Khong by the neck and Sim pushed Ms Soh towards the bed. Tok told Ms Khong to drop her handbag. When she refused, he punched her. Sim pointed a penknife at Ms Soh and threatened to harm her if she did "anything". He tied her hands with tape and took pictures of their identity cards.

Sim claimed that Tok owed him a large sum of money and demanded $100,000 from the women. Throughout the ordeal, the two men told the victims that there were other men outside and that they should not try to escape.

The duo robbed Ms Soh of a $31,000 Rolex watch and Ms Khong of her Patek Philippe watch and the cheque. Tok guarded the victims, who were tied up, while Sim left to cash the cheque.

When he returned, the victims were untied and asked for one of the watches back.

Sim warned them not to report the matter.

His lawyers from the Clas Fellowship programme, in their mitigation plea, highlighted his lack of premeditation and significantly lower level of culpability, as well as his remorse and cooperation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2017, with the headline 'Ruse and robbery: Man gets 7 years' jail, 12 strokes'. Print Edition | Subscribe