Early one morning in March this year, Nguyen Do Tam and two accomplices saw an elderly man taking out his wallet - and noticed that it contained a lot of cash.
The Vietnamese nationals then followed 66-year-old Kao Keng Kong, a coffeeshop stall assistant, to his Geylang workplace. It was dark and Mr Kao was alone.
Nguyen went up to Mr Kao and covered his mouth with his hand long enough for an accomplice to find and make off with the wallet, which contained $1,000. Nguyen and his other accomplice followed suit in fleeing the scene.
Yesterday Nguyen, 32, was sentenced to three years and three months in prison and 12 strokes of the cane, after pleading guilty to robbing Mr Kao on March 6.
Two unrelated charges of theft and attempted theft were taken into consideration.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Allison Phua had urged the court to give Nguyen a similar punishment to that for his accomplices, who have already been dealt with for their involvement in the robbery and theft offences.
Tran Huu Cuong, 28, had found and run off with Mr Kao's wallet. He received three years and three months in prison.
Meanwhile, 26-year-old Nguyen Van Thanh, who had spotted Mr Kao taking out his wallet, was sentenced to three years' jail.
Both offenders were also ordered to be given 12 strokes of the cane.
Nguyen Do Tam was also fined $500 for overstaying by five days after his social visit pass expired on March 12.
The prescribed penalty for robbery between 7pm and 7am is a jail term of between three and 14 years, and at least 12 strokes of the cane.