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Judicial CP - May 1997

Corpun file 0809


The Straits Times, Singapore, 4 May 1997

Jail and cane for man who tried to sell Ecstasy pills to drugs officer

A MAN made an appointment to sell 10 Ecstasy tablets to a woman without realising that she was an undercover drugs officer.

Loh Kwong Heng, 21, was sentenced to a total of six years' jail and five strokes of the cane on Friday after he pleaded guilty to selling the drug.

He also admitted to having 27 other Ecstasy pills on him and being a member of an unlawful assembly to attack rival gang members.

He had committed the rioting offence at Block 445, Clementi Avenue 3, together with nine others on Oct 22, 1995.

A district court heard that on Jan 13 this year, the Central Narcotics Bureau woman officer paged Loh to ask him whether he had any Ecstasy pills for sale.

He said he had two kinds of Ecstasy pills -- one costing $40 each and the other $32 each.

They met at about 5 pm at Tiong Bahru Plaza. After confirming that he had the drugs with him, she said she would call him again.

At about 8.30 pm, he turned up for another meeting along Outram Road where CNB officers were lying in wait for him.

As he handed over the drugs to the woman officer, the others moved in and arrested him.

The penalty for selling Ecstasy pills is a jail term of between five and 20 years, and up to 15 strokes of the cane.

Corpun file 0808


The Straits Times, Singapore, 4 May 1997

Bungling robbers set off victim's car alarm

By Tan Ooi Boon

TWO robbers trying to make a getaway in their victim's car bungled their escape because they triggered the car alarm system, a district court heard yesterday. The two had to flee on foot, leaving behind tell-tale evidence of the robbery, including the victim's Rolex watch, a pair of their sunglasses and a knife.

Police were able to sniff them out a month later.

Yesterday the two men, Tan Chin Poh, 23, and Tan Choon Huat, 39, pleaded guilty to robbing a jeweller of $180,000 in gold jewellery and were jailed five and 5 years respectively.

They were also sentenced to 12 strokes of the cane each for using knives to threaten their victim. And for trying to steal their victim's car, they each received a three-year driving ban, to begin after their release from prison. The plan for the robbery was hatched between April and June last year. The target was Mr Yeo Song Care, 49, whom the culprits knew usually delivered gold jewellery at around noon.

Another man involved in the robbery, Teo Beng Chuan, 40, was jailed four years and received 12 strokes of the cane yesterday.

A fourth accomplice, Nga Song Pou, had been dealt with in January. He was sentenced to four years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

It was Teo who had recruited the two Tans to rob the jeweller.

On Dec 17 last year, they trailed the gold jeweller as he was on his way to Rochor Centre for a business deal.

As Mr Yeo stepped into the lift, the two Tans barged in and held him up at knife-point.

They took his bag containing the jewellery, his car keys and his $700 Rolex watch.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Malcolm Tan said: "They attempted to drive off in the victim's car, but were unsuccessful as the car alarm was activated. Thereafter, they abandoned the car and fled in different directions."

On Jan 13, police arrested them while they were on their way to a goldsmith's in People's Park Centre to collect payment for the sale of their loot.

The police also rounded up the other two accomplices later that day.

The men could have been jailed up to 10 years.

Corpun file 0825


The Straits Times, Singapore, 9 May 1997

Jail, cane for labourer in armed robbery bid

AN ODD-JOB labourer was yesterday sentenced to three years' jail and 12 strokes for attempted armed robbery.

Tay Chong Teck, 26, went out to rob someone in January because he did not have any money to celebrate the coming Chinese New Year.

A district court heard that, armed with a penknife, he went to a shop in Block 254, Serangoon Central Drive on Jan 30. He noted there was only one salesman in the shop.

Tay went in. Pretending to pay for two tins of paint, he took out his penknife instead and pointed it at the salesman, Mr Lim Choo Keng, 61, and demanded $500 from him.

They struggled. The elderly man broke free and ran out of the shop shouting. Tay also dashed out, but he was set upon by several passers-by. He escaped and ran into a nearby lorry. When the driver ran off, Tay smashed the lorry's windscreen. He has previous convictions for theft, outrage of modesty and drug possession.

He pleaded guilty yesterday to attempted armed robbery.

He could have been jailed up to seven years and given not fewer than 12 strokes of the cane.

Corpun file 0823


The Straits Times, Singapore, 12 May 1997

Robbery, housebreaking trio get jail and cane

TWO men who robbed a Filipina maid and a production operator, and who broke into six places have been jailed and given 24 strokes of the cane each.

Mohamad Nasar Mohamed Sali and Sivaraj Pillai Sammugam, both 20, were sentenced to seven and six years' jail, respectively. Within three months last year, they broke into six places and robbed four people of nearly $9,000 in cash and about $3,000 in cigarettes, jewellery and other items.

An accomplice, Kannan Karunanatham, 25, was sentenced on Thursday to nine years' jail and five strokes of the cane on charges of housebreaking by night, theft, and of possession and consumption of drugs.

On Sept 29 last year, Mohamad Nasar, unemployed, and Sivaraj Pillai, a full-time national serviceman, robbed Filipino maid Marcy I. Milla, 35, of $87 and jewellery worth $240.

On Nov 11, they robbed production operator Lin Bao Zhu, 23, a Chinese national, in Pandan Gardens in Jurong.

Together with Kannan Karunanatham, they pushed her under an overhead bridge and knocked her head against its railing when she put up a struggle.

They then fled with her haversack containing $157 cash and gold jewellery worth $112, among other things.

On Nov 29, Mohamad Nasar and Sivaraj Pillai broke into a flat in Block 227, Pending Road, and made off with $50 cash. They were caught on Dec 27 when they broke into a coffee-shop in Bendemeer Road.

Mohamad Nasar has previous convictions for robbery and theft while Sivaraj Pillai has been convicted for theft. Kannan has previous convictions for housebreaking by night, theft, and drug possession and consumption.

Corpun file 0833


The Straits Times, Singapore, 14 May 1997

Sex offences against maids 'of concern'

By Lim Li Hsien

SEXUAL offences committed against maids working here are a matter of public concern, Justice T.S. Sinnathuray said yesterday when he found a youth guilty of raping an Indonesian maid.

He sentenced Malaysian Lam Chun Song, 18, to eight years' jail and six strokes of the cane for raping the 23-year-old woman in her employer's Jurong East flat on Sept 29 last year. The judge said: "We can't altogether ignore what has appeared in the media in recent days of the offence of rape of maids and of molest cases of maids working in Singapore.

"It would appear it is a matter of much public concern."

Last weekend, The Sunday Times reported on men who took advantage of their maids, and the rising incidence of such complaints to the police and maid agents.

The judge had relied on guidelines provided by Chief Justice Yong Pung How in an earlier case, that the starting point of sentencing for rape cases was 10 years' jail, with a reduction for mitigating factors.

Rape carries a maximum penalty of 20 years' jail.

The judge said the only mitigating factor in this case was Lam's age.

The rape took place in the home of renovation contractor Tony Ee Chee Yung, who had split up with his wife and had just moved into the flat on Sept 23 with Lam and his sister, Mr Ee's girlfriend.

Mr Ee's mother, the maid and his two children moved in three days later.

Lam's story was that at about 11.30 pm on Sept 29, he entered the maid's room, disturbed by the sound of crying.

The maid slept there with Mr Ee's two children, aged two months and two years.

The youth said he rocked the cot to quieten the baby, and he caught the maid's eye as he left, but he insisted that he did not rape the maid.

The judge said: "It is incredible that he never thought of waking the maid, and telling her to take care of the baby who was crying."

The judge also rejected his explanation for the semen stains found on the mattress the maid slept on.

Lam had said that he had had a wet dream a few days before and had changed his shorts on the mattress, and that could have caused the stain.

As for his contention that the maid had made it up as an excuse to go home, Justice Sinnathuray said his accusing the maid of fabrication would be taken into account when sentencing him.

Pleading for leniency, defence counsel Eugene Ho, who was assisted by Mr Tan Cheng Yew, said that Lam was very young, a first offender and he did not hurt the maid.

The case was prosecuted by DPP Ng Cheng Thiam and Ms Tham Yuet Ming.

Contacted after the trial, the maid, who is still working for Mr Ee, said she was relieved to hear that Lam had been convicted.

She said she wanted to go home to Surabaya to her husband, a farmer, and their three-year-old son.

But she will not tell them about the rape, as this will give them "a heavy heart", she said.

"Maybe I will come back," she added, "because there are good-hearted people here too."

Corpun file 0874


The Straits Times, Singapore, 23 May 1997

Secret society member gets jail, cane for rioting

A SECRET society member who was part of a group which attacked three men at the NTUC Pasir Ris Resort in November 1995 was sentenced to three years' jail and six strokes of the cane yesterday. Coffeeshop assistant Koh Keng Chuan, 17, was the last member of his group of rioters to be dealt with.

He was given a similar sentence for arming himself with a broken beer bottle when he and more than 20 others attacked a group at a wake at Clementi West Street 2 on Sept 21, 1995.

Koh had earlier pleaded guilty to the two charges, but sentencing was postponed until yesterday for a medical report on whether he was fit to be caned. Defence counsel John Abraham had told the court that Koh was being treated for hepatitis B.

District Judge Syed Alwee said yesterday that the doctor's report showed that the youth was fit to be caned.

He back-dated the three-year sentences, which run together, to April 30 and Koh will get a total of 12 strokes.

He had two other charges considered for sentencing -- one of rioting and another of having carnal connection with an underaged girl.

A self-confessed member of the Gi Hai Kim secret society of the 24 group, Koh and his gang members, armed with parangs and metal pipes, attacked 16 people as they were leaving the wake in September 1995.

Five of them slashed full-time police national serviceman Koh Yin Ming, then 18, on the back of his head. He suffered three cuts -- two on the scalp and the other on his back. The other victims escaped injury by fleeing into the private bus which had taken them to the wake.

Police investigations showed that Koh and his gang attacked the victims, thinking they were members of a rival group.

In the second case, Koh and 14 others were celebrating a girl's birthday at the NTUC Resort on Nov 22 the same year when some of them had a dispute with a group of men the next day. Koh and his friends went back to their chalet to get the others.

Then, armed with knives and metal pipes, they assaulted Mr Chua Guan Heng, 22, Mr Toh Hwee Leong and Mr Eric Chung Soon Mun, both 20.

Mr Chua lost his left little finger in the attack and his left hand was almost severed although it was re-attached successfully by surgery.

Last month, District Judge Syed Alwee sentenced 11 of Koh's accomplices to between one and three years' jail plus four to six strokes of the cane.

The judge said that caning would be ordered in cases where the victim or victims were injured seriously. Three others were dealt with earlier.

The maximum penalty for rioting while armed with a weapon likely to cause death is seven years' jail and caning. Simple rioting is punishable with up to five years' jail and caning.

Corpun file 0883


The New Paper, Singapore, 26 May 1997

Saved by 0.01 gram

By Michelle Ang

Jailed: Sharifpudin Mohamad will not hang but will spend 25 years in prison and get 15 strokes of the cane.

Only thing you can consider fortunate to yourself is that the prosecution has gone on 14.99g or otherwise, having been convicted of such an offence, it carries the death sentence.

- Justice T S Sinnathuray

Rafidah Kamilan:
The judge said she had fallen into "the clutches of (Sharifpudin)".

That's something she may have to wait for a long, long time.

- Justice T S Sinnathuray on the couple's marriage plans

A JOBLESS man has escaped the death penalty - by less than the weight of a feather.

Sharifpudin Mohamad and his girlfriend, Rafidah Kamilan, were caught with 23.87g of heroin on Jan 2 this year.

But he was charged with trafficking only 14.99g.

The law states that those who traffic in 15 g or more of heroin must hang.

So Sharifpudin, 29, escaped the gallows by just 0.01g.

His lawyers had pleaded with the Attorney-General's Chambers to reduce the charges since he was an addict. The lawyers argued that some of the drugs were for the couple's own use.

The AG's Chambers accepted the argument and reduced the charges.

On Friday, Sharifpudin was sentenced to 25 years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane.

He was also jailed three years for taking morphine. The two jail terms will run concurrently, that is, at the same time.

His 21-year-old girlfriend, Rafidah, who is also unemployed, had also faced the death penalty at first.

But she was given five years' jail for trafficking in 7.51g of heroin.

Judge: You're a lucky man

IN passing sentence, Justice T S Sinnathuray said that Sharifpudin should consider himself lucky that the prosecution decided to reduce the charge.

In a sterner voice, the judge said that he could not impose the minimum sentence of 20 years and 15 strokes of the cane.

This was because Sharifpudin had influenced his girlfriend and made her a drug addict.

The judge said: "I would have done so except that ... you have led astray (Rafidah)."

He also noted that Sharifpudin has been in and out of drug rehabilitation centres.

He then sentenced Sharifpudin to 25 years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane.

Turning to Rafidah, the judge said that she had fallen into "the clutches of (Sharifpudin)".

As she had shown remorse as a first offender and was reconciled with her family, he gave her the minimum sentence.

The couple stood stone-faced together in the dock.

But as Sharifpudin was led away, handcuffed and chained at his feet, his mouth twitched and he blinked a few times.

The court had heard the defence tell a tale of love gone awry.

Rafidah was the third child in a family of six. At age 16, she worked in the same factory as her mother and sister.

One day, a friend told her that she could earn a lot as a social escort. Rafidah signed up, and was soon earning $12,000 a month. Sharifpudin's father died in 1978 in Kuala Lumpur. In 1979, Sharifpudin, then 12, came to Singapore. He worked as a pump attendant until he was 14.

From the time he was 19, he went in and out of drug rehabilitation centres.

In October last year, Sharifpudin, who was jobless, met Rafidah through a friend.

They fell in love. She quit her job and moved with him to the Rangoon Road room on Dec 24 last year.

Rafidah's lawyer, Mr Shashi Nathan, said that she spent her savings on drugs. Her parents disowned her.

Rafidah still wants to marry Sharifpudin. His family, too, welcomed her.

His sister, who asked not to be named, said: "Sometimes, she visited us and helped us to clean the house. She was polite and friendly."

Of her brother, she said: "He will be in there a long time. Maybe, he will repent."

Chief tenant called cops

THEIR chief tenant called the police and said someone had taken drugs in the communal toilet in the Rangoon Road flat.

When the police arrived, at 5.13 am on Jan 2, he unlocked their room door and the couple were found in bed.


The police also found packets of drugs, $4,248 in cash, a pager, handphone, silver foil and a rolled-up $10-bill.

The couple's urine samples were tested.

They suffered "mild heroin withdrawal" while in custody at Changi Prison Hospital.

Corpun file 0898


The New Paper, Singapore, 30 May 1997

BOYS: Don't send us home
JUDGE: It's jail for you

By Augustine Pang


The maximum penalty for rioting armed with a weapon likely to cause death is seven years' jail and caning. Simple rioting is punishable with up to five years' jail and caning.

Those convicted of stealing can be jailed up to seven years or fined, or both.

THEY wanted to get away from their "bad friends" who live in their neighbourhood.

So when Mohammad Zukhee Abdullah and Sopian Takzanudin were hauled up to court for rioting and theft, they asked the judge for a sentence which would keep them away from their homes.

District Judge S Thyagarajan went one step further. On Saturday, he sentenced the 16-year-olds to jail and caning.

Mohammad Zukhee, who also faced one charge of theft, was sentenced to 19 months' jail. Sopian Takzanudin, who had three charges of theft, was sentenced to 24 months' jail.

Each boy was also sentenced to six strokes of the cane.

The judge felt that the two boys, as well as six friends who were charged with rioting with them (see other report), had been "overly daring and violent".

Their six friends also received heavy sentences - between 18 and 36 months in jail and up to 24 strokes of the cane.

Three of the boys were repeat offenders, Deputy Public Prosecutor Han Ming Kuang said.

A relative of Mohammad Zukhee told The New Paper after the sentence: "He'll have to learn something out of this and pay for it.

"He feels very sad and regretful, and he's afraid of the cane. But I told him, "you go in, you learn, you're still young'.

"The judge cannot let him go, and he should not think that just because he has a lawyer he can escape. Rioting is a very serious offence now."

During sentencing, Judge Thyagarajan said the lawyers for Mohammad Zukhee, Sopian and Mohammad Azahari had "done their best".

"But there are too many aggravating factors in this case ... they were armed with deadly weapons, they were members of a gang and their victims' injuries," he said.

A relative of Sopian said: "We saw him in jail. He said he wants to change - that's a good start."

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