Generation Grit

Former gangster, now entrepreneur

Mr Jasper Yap and three partners own Eezee.sg, an online marketplace where businesses trade items such as electrical and hardware supplies. The start-up is profitable and may expand overseas to Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. Mr Jasper Yap was arr
Mr Jasper Yap was arrested by the police for robbing a cabby when he was 14. A decade later, he is now an entrepreneur after graduating from Ngee Ann Polytechnic as one of its top students last year.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Jasper Yap and three partners own Eezee.sg, an online marketplace where businesses trade items such as electrical and hardware supplies. The start-up is profitable and may expand overseas to Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. Mr Jasper Yap was arr
Mr Jasper Yap and three partners own Eezee.sg, an online marketplace where businesses trade items such as electrical and hardware supplies. The start-up is profitable and may expand overseas to Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Full-time national serviceman Jasper Yap, 24, went from being a teenage gangster to a top student, graduating as the valedictorian for his Aerospace Technology course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. He is now setting his sights on building his business, in this series on resilient millennials who overcame adversity to make a life for themselves.

By the age of 14, Mr Jasper Yap had already taken part in gang fights, consumed drugs, stolen motorcycles for joyrides and even robbed a taxi driver of all his cash, which was less than $100.

After he was caught for vehicle theft and robbery, he was sent to the Singapore Boys' Home for two years in 2009. He resolved to turn his wayward life around in the home.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2018, with the headline 'Former gangster, now entrepreneur'. Print Edition | Subscribe