SINGAPORE - Three Malaysians who broke into a flat and stole cash and property amounting to at least $27,000 squandered the money through gambling or daily expenses, a court heard.
On Thursday (Jan 12), odd job workers Ong Hoey Ming, 41, and Tan Khien Chuan, 32, and freelance painter Tan Chee Way, 49, were each jailed for two years after pleading guilty to housebreaking and theft of cash, jewellery and other items totalling over $27,000 from Mr Oliver Lee Wee Lim, 36, at his home in Bukit Panjang Ring Road on Nov 23, 2016.
A district court heard that some time in late October 2016, Chee Way ran out of money and proposed to Ong that they should go to Singapore to commit "pecah rumah" (Malay for housebreaking). He had approached Ong as he had a car and was familiar with the roads in Singapore. Ong agreed.
Chee Way also told Khien Chuan about the plan and the latter agreed to join in.
The trio entered Singapore via Woodlands checkpoint on Nov 23.
They parked the car at Bangkit Road and went to a coffeeshop nearby for lunch. After lunch, they walked back to the carpark and took out a black bag containing two cutters and a crowbar.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Esther Tang said they walked up to the 10th floor of the block in Bukit Panjang Ring Road. They then went to the seventh floor and decided to break into Mr Lee's unit, which had no padlock on the grille of the metal gate.
They managed to open the metal gate and took turns to force open the main down door with the crowbar.
Once the door was forced open, Chee Way and Khien Chuain ransacked the bedrooms to look for valuables while Ong acted as a lookout.
They left with the loot 10 to 15 minutes later, walking down the stairs to their car. They left for Malaysia the same day.
They subsequently changed the Singapore and foreign currencies into Malaysian ringgit and split the cash equally.
At Genting Highlands, Ong and Khien Chuan lost money gambling. Chee Way used his share to repay debts, and to pay for daily expenses.
They were arrested on Dec 2 when they tried to enter Singapore.
Each of them could have been jailed for up to 10 years for housebreaking and theft.