Vietnamese syndicate jailed for theft

The mastermind of a group of Vietnamese nationals who stole items from shops has been jailed three years and nine months. Le Thi Duoc, 51, recruited seven other fellow Vietnamese nationals to accompany her here to steal. Three of her accomplices were jailed for three years each. The other four alleged accomplices, two men and two women, have not been dealt with.

A district court heard that the group arrive in Singapore on Nov 14 last year and moved into a lodging house in Upper Paya Lebar Road. There, Duoc briefed her syndicate members on how to distract the store assistants and block the view of the customers while stealing valuables from the shops.

The stealing spree started the very next day and on Nov 16, they struck at the Fauzy Gifts store in Lucky Plaza. Duoc and two accomplices kept staff members busy while Dang Thi Thu Duong, 19, stole the store assistant's handbag that was placed on the counter. The value of the stolen items came to more than $1,500. From Nov 15 to 18, the group stole cash, cellphones and cameras amounting to nearly $5,000.

In sentencing them, District Judge Low Wee Ping said: "It was sheer foolishness for all of you to think you can come here and commit the offences and get away with it."

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