Vietnamese man jailed 3 years, 3 months for robbing elderly coffeeshop helper

An overstaying Vietnamese man was on Friday given a jail term of three years and three months and 12 strokes of the cane for robbing an elderly coffeeshop helper.

Early one morning on March 6 this year, Nguyen Do Tam and two accomplices noticed an elderly man taking out his wallet - and saw 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 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.

On Friday, 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.

Two unrelated charges of theft and attempted theft were also taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Allison Phua had urged the court to give Nguyen a similar punishment to his accomplices, who have already been dealt with for their respective involvement in both the robbery and theft offences.

Nguyen Do Tam was also fined $500 for overstaying his social visit pass by five days after it had 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.