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Judicial CP - December 2007

Corpun file 19880


The New Paper, Singapore, 4 December 2007

He goes from loan shark victim to loan shark runner

By Desmond Ng

HE could not beat them, so he joined them.

-- File picture

Fed-up with being harassed by loan sharks, a victim thought he had found the perfect solution - help them run their illegal business instead.

For his folly, he was later charged under the Moneylenders Act and sentenced to 32 months' jail with eight strokes of the cane for harassing eight households.

In April this year, Seet Peng Huat, 37, had borrowed $2,000 from an unlicensed moneylender known as 'Steven'. The interest was 20 per cent and Seet soon had difficulty repaying the sum.

Court papers obtained by The New Paper stated that in June, 'Steven' asked Seet to work for him as a runner to clear his debt. For each debtor he harassed, he would be paid $50.

Seet took up the offer.

'Steven' would call him with a list of loan defaulters, and after receiving the information, Seet would take public transport to the debtors' residences to execute the usual rituals.

He scribbled 'O$P$' (owe money, pay money) with a permanent marker on lift doors, splashed paint on the debtors' units, and even threw paint into a debtor's house.

Within two months, he had harassed about eight households, and also earned about $3,000 as a runner before his luck ran out.

Seet was scribbling 'O$P$' with a red marker on the ninth floor lift of a Bishan HDB block when he was arrested by two police officers in July.

In his mitigation, Seet - who has a son, and whose wife of two years is in China - claimed he had financial difficulties, so he borrowed money from an illegal moneylender.

He had engaged in various businesses ranging from running a stall at a food court to having a car rental business. His businesses failed and he was working as a supervisor in a freight forwarding company.

District Judge Liew Thiam Leng said in his written judgment that it is no excuse for an accused to say he was forced to work for moneylenders to clear his debt.

Judge Liew added: 'The accused could have reported the matter to the police instead of causing misery to other victims.

'The accused ought to know the plight of such victims and the anguish which such persons would have to go through, and yet he embarked on a series of harassment offences against other victims.'

The judge also highlighted that Seet had earned $3,000 while working as a runner, and since he had benefited from his moneylending activities, he could not expect to be treated lightly.

Scribbled graffiti

During his stint, Seet had scribbled graffiti on at least 19 occasions.

Judge Liew said: 'These scribblings were calculated to cause embarrassment and anxiety not only to the debtors, but to their family members as well as their immediate neighbours.'

In his judgement, he noted that there has been an increase in the number of illegal moneylending and related harassment cases.

In 2004, there were 5,809 reported cases; in 2005, there were 8,568.

Last year, it shot to 10,211 cases.

Under the Moneylenders Act, Seet could have been fined between $4,000 and $40,000, or be jailed up to three years or both.

If damage was caused to any property in the commission of the offence, the offender may also be punished with caning of not more than four strokes.

Seet is appealing against the sentence.

Corpun file 19879


Straits Times, Singapore, 7 December 2007

Woodlands serial molester sentenced to jail, caning

He struck several times in three months, mostly after following his victims into lifts

By Elena Chong
Court Correspondent

10 strokes of the cane: Ridhwan Ya'acob
BEHIND BARS: Ridhwan was jailed for four years and nine months.

A SERIAL molester who preyed on young girls and women in Woodlands over a three-month period was jailed for four years and nine months and sentenced to 10 strokes of the cane yesterday.

Ridhwan Ya'acob, 21, unemployed, pleaded guilty last month to seven charges ranging from aggravated molestation to causing grievous hurt.

His modus operandi was to follow his victims into lifts and molest them. On two occasions, he punched his victims.

A cigarette butt he left behind at one of the crime scenes led to his arrest after a DNA analysis. He was picked up at a void deck in Woodlands Avenue 1 on Sept 4.

A district court heard that, on June 15, he followed a 16-year-old girl into a lift.

When inside, he told the victim to move closer, but she refused.

He touched her shoulders and she screamed in fear. He cupped her mouth but she continued shouting. He warned her to stop or he would hit her.

The victim scolded him and he punched her in the face, breaking her nose.

On Aug 22, a 26-year-old Internet marketing executive was walking along the pavement near her condominium when Ridhwan hugged her from behind. He slipped his hand underneath her shirt and bra and touched her breast.

When the victim tried to break free, he grabbed her hair and pushed her to the ground.

She swung her bag towards him and he snatched it and fled.

Two days later, he was in the lift with a 20-year-old student. He flung away his cigarette butt as the lift ascended and then molested her.

When she tried to push his hand away and shouted for help, he tried to kiss her.

She squatted down and he pulled her head towards him and used his knee to hit her head.

On Sept 3, he tried to molest a 12-year-old girl inside a lift after punching and kicking her while she squatted to dodge his blows.

Five other charges were taken into consideration.

Ridhwan, whose girlfriend had given birth about two weeks ago, told District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim that he wished to apologise to the victims and wanted to be a good husband and father.

Copyright 2007 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

Corpun file 19892


Straits Times, Singapore, 13 December 2007

Jail, cane for man who broke into 40 premises

By Elena Chong

OVER a period of about 20 months, a former bouncer broke into 40 premises, making off with loot worth more than $165,000.

Yesterday, Shashilaran Balakrishnan, 42, got 9 years' jail and was given 24 strokes of the cane.

The offences were committed between February last year and October this year. He admitting to 10 charges of housebreaking and theft and one of attempted break-in.

Thirty-two other charges of mainly housebreaking and theft were considered. The places he broke into included a pub and childcare centres.

A district court heard that in one case, on Oct 23 this year, he broke into Mohican Pub in Madras Street in Little India with two accomplices, who are being dealt with separately.

Shashilaran used a crowbar to break a padlock before entering a side door. Once inside, he got one accomplice to join him while the other acted as a lookout.

They got away with liquor and cash amounting to $2,078. He gave his accomplices seven bottles.

Acting on a tip-off, police arrested him in his flat in Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 the next day and recovered a carton of Chivas, six bottles of liquor plus a billiard cue.

In the other charges proceeded, he stole mainly computers and electrical goods from a flat under renovation, a computer servicing company and six childcare centres.

Shashilaran has had convictions for property offences dating back to 1983.

Copyright 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 19893


Straits Times, Singapore, 13 December 2007

Half-naked man attacked boy

By Elena Chong

A MAN who tried to molest a young boy at a staircase landing while partially naked was sentenced to 3 years in jail yesterday.

Desiyantoh Zainal, 23, was also handed three strokes of the cane after admitting to a total of four charges in a district court.

It marked the second time in the last three years he has been hauled before a judge on sex-related crimes. In 2004, he was fined $2,000 for appearing nude in public, but served the default sentence of one month in jail.

Yesterday, the court heard that a 12-year-old student was on his way to school when Desiyantoh appeared near a sixth-floor lift. He was naked from the waist down with a T-shirt pulled up to cover his face.

Desiyantoh grabbed the victim's right hand and dragged him to a staircase landing. He covered the boy's mouth with one hand and grabbed his neck with the other. Desiyantoh told the boy to take his shorts off but he resisted. Desiyantoh then let go of the victim's neck and tried to pull down his shorts. The victim struggled and shouted for help.

Shortly after, a male caller rang the police and informed them of the attack.

Desiyantoh was convicted of attempted aggravated molestation and committing an obscene act. He also admitted to two other unrelated charges.

Two other charges were taken into consideration.

Copyright 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 19906


The New Paper, Singapore, 20 December 2007

Are these ex-cons jumping on the bandwagon to get a big pay-off?

Lawyer Joseph Chen. -- File photo

Four convicted armed robbers were jailed and sentenced to 12 strokes of the cane in 1988 for each charge.

One made the news in 1991 when The New Paper reported he had been caned 48 times on 8 Apr 1988.

The legal sentencing limit is 24 strokes at any one trial.

It was also reported that he was suing the Government for the mistake.

For 19 years, the other robbers said nothing publicly about their caning.

But now two of them are alleging they received extra caning strokes and are demanding compensation to the tune of millions of dollars.

Was an error really made? This could not be verified as such records are confidential.

The ex-cons are both represented by lawyer Joseph Chen, who once acted for ex-gangster Dickson Tan, who was in the news this year for his claim of excessive caning.

Their lawyer produced a letter said to have been sent on Monday to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), demanding compensation.

The New Paper contacted the AGC but it did not respond by press time.

The armed robbers' case was reported by TNP in 1991.

Four men - Qwek Kee Chong, 26, Chia Teck Kiam, 29, Kwek Hak Seng, 25, and Loh Chou Fei, 26 - were convicted of armed robberies that took place in 1987.

They had attacked gambling dens and hair salons 38 times while armed with parangs. They escaped with $230,362 in all between January and August 1987.

Qwek and Chia pleaded guilty to four charges and were jailed 10 years each.

Kwek and Loh were each given five years after they pleaded guilty to three counts each.

The four men were also given 12 strokes of the cane for each charge.

When Qwek made the news in 1991 for his claim of excessive caning, it was believed to be the first case of a prisoner being caned beyond the maximum number of strokes permitted.


In July 2005, The New Paper reported that Qwek had been compensated by the Government. The amount awarded was never revealed.

Now, Chia and Kwek are asking for millions of dollars as compensation.

Under the Criminal Procedure Code, caning should not exceed 24 strokes at any one trial for adults.

And it should not exceed 10 strokes for a young offender.

'Not aware'

When the ex-cons' lawyer was asked why his clients had waited so long to make a claim, Mr Chen said they were not aware that Qwek had been awarded compensation until recently.

In the case of Dickson Tan, he was jailed nine months in February for vandalism and moneylending and was supposed to be caned five times.

But on 29 Mar, he was caned eight times instead.

Mr Chen represented Tan in his claims for compensation from the Government but has since left the firm where he was working at to set up his own firm.

Mr K Ravi is now representing Tan and the matter is believed to be still pending.

Copyright 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.

blob Follow-up: 24 January 2008 - Ex-inmate to seek court redress for 3 extra strokes

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