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Judicial CP - January 1999


Straits Times, Singapore, 1 January 1999

Drug addict with Aids escapes cane

A painter who had been sentenced to 15 strokes has been found to be medically unfit. The caning was not replaced with a longer jail term


A DRUG addict who has Aids and who has been sentenced to a total of 22 years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane for drug offences will not be caned after all, because he is medically unfit.

Yesterday, Judicial Commissioner Tay Yong Kwang exercised his powers to strike out the caning he had imposed on Lim Kim Hock, 39, a painter, last August. He did not increase Lim's prison term, although he could have substituted the caning with a jail sentence of up to 12 months.

Lim pleaded guilty to trafficking in 14.99 g of heroin on Jan 26 last year, just 0.01 g short of the weight which attracts the mandatory death sentence.

For this, he was sentenced to the minimum 20 years and 15 cane strokes.

He also admitted to two other offences and was jailed for two years for having 0.04 g of heroin, and three years for taking morphine on Feb 10 last year. The first two sentences -- 20 years and two years -- are consecutive.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Amarjit Singh said yesterday that a prison doctor stated in his medical report on Aug 18, 11 days after Lim was sentenced, that the prisoner was unfit for caning.

In the circumstances, he said, the court could remit the caning or substitute it with imprisonment of up to 12 months. Lim's counsel, Mr Chua Teck Leong, urged the court not to substitute the caning with any other sentence.

Asked by the judge if Lim's condition had improved, the lawyer said it had not.

Lim, who is being treated by a doctor from the Communicable Disease Centre, has previous drug-related convictions from March 1980. He has been detained for drug abuse.

He could have been jailed for up to 30 years and received 15 strokes for trafficking; and up to 10 years plus a $20,000 fine each for drug possession and consumption.

Copyright 1998 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.


Straits Times, Singapore, 1 January 1999

Lecturer found guilty of molest


On bus, he stroked a girl's thigh and put her hand on his crotch

A 45-YEAR-OLD man was sentenced to 18 months' jail in all and six strokes of the cane after he was found guilty of molesting a young woman on a bus.

Uckath Variyath Balakrishnan, who has a doctorate in mathematics and lectures part-time in the Open University Degree Programme, was cleared of one charge of touching the girl's buttocks on a Singapore Bus Service No. 135 bus on Nov 4 last year. On Wednesday, the court found that the prosecution had failed to prove this charge beyond a reasonable doubt. But he was convicted of three other charges and sentenced to between two months and 12 months, with six strokes of the cane.

The other charges were of stroking her left thigh, rubbing her breast with his elbow, and taking her hand to stroke his thigh and to place it on his crotch.

Balakrishnan, who is from India, is a permanent resident here and is married with one child.

The complainant, now 20 and a pupil assistant nurse, was taking the bus home from Serangoon Avenue 2 and sat next to Balakrishnan at the back of the crowded bus that evening.

Some 10 minutes later, she felt someone rubbing her left thigh, and when she realised that it was Balakrishnan, she became angry and asked him: "What are you trying to do?"

He removed his hand and stared ahead.

She then pretended to sleep. Later, Balakrishnan moved close to her and rubbed her breast with his right elbow for a minute or two.

She then decided to lure him to a police post.

After rubbing her breast, he grabbed her left hand and put in on his right thigh.

He then moved her hand and placed it on his crotch and made her rub it.

They alighted at a bus stop opposite Parkway Parade and the woman went to the neighbourhood police post there, telling Balakrishnan she was looking for her brother.

Instead, she reported him to the police.

Balakrishnan claimed in his defence that he chatted with the girl and she was not only friendly, but had also invited him to her home for coffee that night.

He could have been jailed for up to two years and fined or caned on each charge.

He is on $20,000 bail, pending his appeal against conviction and sentence.

Copyright 1998 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

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The New Paper, Singapore, 15 January 1999

Lim Tao Boon (above) was sentenced to seven years' jail and eight strokes of the cane for rape on Nov 26. The maximum penalty is 20 years' jail and caning.

She was so high, she could not fight back

* Teens check into hotel for drink and drug party
* Girl, 14, passes out on bed
* Odd job worker, 26, rapes her

Ever heard of drug parties? They are some teenagers' idea of fun. But many of these teens don't realise what they are getting into. As RIANA ZAKIR finds out from this court case, the consequences can be devastating

SHE was just 14 but out to have wild fun.

She probably thought she could look after herself, but when the moment of truth came, she was helpless.

She was being raped, but she could not fight back or resist.

The girl, who cannot be named because she is a rape victim, placed herself at the mercy of a 26-year-old odd-job worker Lim Tao Boon by agreeing to join him at a drug party.

Till four days before that, she did not even know the man.

She first met him at Peninsula Plaza in March, when she wanted to buy 20 Upjohn tablets from him.

They exchanged phone numbers. Lim accompanied the girl to get two tattoos over two days at a Bugis Village outlet.

And then, he invited her, and two friends, to join him for a drug party.

None of them blinked.

The group had been to several drug parties before.

During their first stay at Burly Hotel, they popped Upjohn tablets - a drug that causes drowsiness.

The overdose was so high that the girl was still groggy when the group checked out of the hotel the next day.

Then Lim organised another party - and it was a wild night out for the teens. Out to blow their minds, they booked a $70 room at the Balestier Road hotel.

Aged between 14 and 18, some of them had met only a few days earlier. But they had a common interest in alcohol and drugs.

That night, on March 12, they spread Upjohn pills out on a table like a buffet.

Also popped and snorted in the hotel toilet was Ecstasy, a controlled drug, and K powder, the street name for Ketamine hydrochloride, used in large quantities as anaesthetic in animal surgery.

As the pills were popped, beer flowed freely.

One by one they passed out from the hellish abuse, with four of them sleeping on the same queen-sized bed.

The 14-year-old girl was woken up from her drugged state to find herself being stripped and raped in the middle of the night.

Two of her friends, a 15-year-old girl and a teenage boy, were sleeping on the same bed, but they were too drunk and drugged to help.

The girl couldn't scream or move.

She was too weak - having popped 40 to 50 sleeping pills in four days - after mistaking them for the Upjohn pills, which were also white and round.

When Lim saw that she was completely dazed, he peeled off her shorts and panties and raped her.

Paralysed by the pill overdose, the girl was unable to even talk as she stayed awake throughout the ordeal.

The morning after the rape, Lim's girlfriend looked him up at the hotel.

A sheepish Lim admitted that he had slept with the girl, "for fun".

Later that day, he looked for the victim at a friend's workplace, where the shaken girl was taking refuge.

But this meeting ended in a fight that led to Lim trying to slash himself with a knife.

In the commotion, the girl picked up the knife and slashed her arm too.

Her parents were called and she was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Later, she broke down, and spoke about the drugs and the rape.

Lim claimed that she had agreed to have sex, but was convicted of rape after a seven-day closed-door trial.

He was sentenced on Nov 26.

Havoc life turns into a nightmare

SHE had been a havoc girl since age 12.

But the parents of the rape victim knew nothing about her hellish life - until the rape.

They never suspected their daughter of glue-sniffing or popping Upjohn pills.

They did not know that her friends were drug addicts too.

When she didn't return home for two days before the rape, her clueless parents scrambled to call her friends for her whereabouts.

She had not returned home as she was "high" on drugs and didn't want her parents to know.

The girl, who cannot be named as she is a rape victim, started smoking at age 12.

She also had unprotected sex with her boyfriend, and was involved with "gangs".

She wore tattoos like a second skin.

She hated school, and hung up her Secondary 2 uniform even before admission.

She tried to lead the fast-and-loose life of someone twice her age but emotionally she just never grew up.

Her psychiatrist said she was "emotionally immature".

The girl hung out with teenage friends at nightspots, smoking, drinking and taking drugs.

She usually felt "wild" after taking drugs, the court heard. She knew what she was doing but couldn't stop or control herself.

Tuning out reality and having fun was her sole concern. But she never imagined how big the nightmare could become.

She is now recovering in a girl's home.

Drug parties

DRUG parties had surfaced in 1996 and were held in certain pubs and discos after closing hours.

Then, Ecstasy pills were dished out to selected patrons, who paid exorbitant prices for a jug of mineral water.

Some parents complained that at certain discos, pushers were spiking their daughters' drinks to molest them later.

Not surprisingly, the Central Narcotics Bureau cracked down hard with raids and spot checks.

But they hadn't come across any drug parties in hotel rooms.

Mr Muhammad Azni Sarbini, CNB's assistant director of intelligence, said there were isolated cases of people arrested in hotel rooms testing positive for drugs.

"However, we've no cases of a large gathering of people in hotel rooms for the purpose of abusing drugs."

A police source told The New Paper that "a few" cases of sexual crimes which took place during drug parties are being investigated.

Brush with death

THE girl narrowly missed dying from a drug overdose.

The amount of diazepam - the chemical found in sleeping pills - in her blood shocked even medical professionals.

It was nearly four times above the sedative level, and three times above the level at which muscles get too weak to function.

What's more, the hospital test was done more than 24 hours after the rape.

This means the diazepam in her blood during the rape "must have been alarmingly and dangerously higher", the court heard.

In some cases, much smaller doses have even resulted in deaths.


Straits Times, Singapore, 15 January 1999

Man gets jail, caning for rape and molest

The lorry driver, 47, molested his two stepdaughters and two nieces, and also raped one of the stepdaughters

By Lim Seng Jin

A MAN raped one of his two stepdaughters, and also molested both of them and two nieces over a three-year period when the four girls were aged from nine to 13.

The raped girl dropped out of school at Secondary 2 because she was too "disheartened" to continue her studies, the High Court heard yesterday.

The man, a 47-year-old lorry driver, was sentenced to a total of 12 years' jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane yesterday for his crimes, which took place between 1994 and July 1997.

He is not named in order to protect the identity of his victims.

The court heard that he lived in a Hougang flat with his second wife, their daughter, and his wife's two daughters and a son by two other men.

In 1994, the man molested his older stepdaughter, then 13, on two occasions by fondling her breasts in her grandmother's Yishun flat.

He molested her three times after that in the Hougang flat by fondling her breasts or touching her private parts -- twice in 1996, and once in June 1997.

His younger stepdaughter was molested by him in the same way -- in February and July 1997. She was 13 years old then. He also raped her on the night that he first molested her.

The man also molested two of his nieces in June 1997 by touching their private parts. They were nine and 11 years old at the time.

He molested the nine-year-old four times.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Low Cheong Yeow, in urging the court to pass a deterrent sentence against the man yesterday, said he had "violated the trust reposed in him by the victims and other family members".

The man had "taken advantage" of the victims' young age and "preyed" on them when there were no adults around to help them, he said.

Judicial Commissioner Choo Han Teck gave the accused 10 years' jail and the caning for the rape charge, and a year's jail on each of four molest charges.

Two of the jail terms for molest will run consecutively with that for rape, making a total of 12 years' jail.

Eight other molest charges were taken into consideration in sentencing.

The lorry driver could have been jailed 20 years for rape. For molest, he could have been jailed up to two years and fined or caned for each charge.

Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.


Straits Times, Singapore, 16 January 1999

Hardcore robber gets jail and cane

He met a cheat while in Queenstown Remand Prison, and later robbed him when both were out on bail

A HARDCORE robber who met a cheat while they were both in Queenstown Remand Prison, robbed him later on, when both were out on bail.

The robber, Tay Thian Song, 42, also threatened to have the man's wife killed and his daughters raped.

Tay was sentenced on Thursday to 12 years of preventive detention and given the maximum 24 strokes of the cane for this and two other armed robbery cases.

His victim was John Lee Geck Heng, 50, a retired air force captain, who was then facing trial for conspiring to cheat a stockbroking firm by using forged share certificates as collateral to get a trading account with a $1-million limit.

Lee was convicted last October and is now behind bars for a year.

On Aug 25 last year, while freed on bail, Lee went to Tay's flat in Woodlands Street 31.

Tay locked the door and demanded $5,000 to help Lee settle his case.

When Lee refused, Tay bound his hands and threatened him with a chopper. He also threatened to get someone to rape Lee's daughters and kill his wife.

Then he robbed Lee of $800 worth of belongings and forced him to deliver $600 in cash later on.

Tay began his criminal career at 17, starting with housebreaking and theft. In 1990, he was sentenced to six years' jail for robbery with hurt.

On May 7 last year, Tay also robbed three teenagers of gold jewellery, cellular phones, pagers and cash, worth about $2,500 in all, when they went to his flat to retrieve some of their belongings.

He also brandished a knife and tied them up.

On Sept 11, he robbed Madam Kua Beng Guat, 42, of $130 cash in his flat, while pretending to sell his flat. Then, at about 1 am, he drove her in her car to Seah Street, where she was to give him more money. But he was arrested by the police there.

He was sentenced to 12 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane on each of the five charges of armed robbery on Lee, the three teenagers and Madam Kua, and 12 years and six strokes of the cane for extorting money from Lee.

The jail terms will run concurrently. The caning will be limited to the mandatory maximum of 24 strokes. Another two charges of attempted extortion and theft were taken into consideration.

Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

Straits Times, Singapore, 17 January 1999

Inmates' drug scheme foiled

Four drug centre inmates hatched a plan to smuggle Upjohn tablets into the centre with the help of a constable. But the four were caught

By Lim Seng Jin

AN INMATE who was due to leave a drug rehabilitation centre agreed to supply three other inmates with Upjohn tablets once he was released.

He was supposed to hand the sleeping tablets to a Special Constable there, but all four inmates were caught before any of the tablets changed hands.

The inmates were dealt with in a district court this week for plotting to traffic in drugs with the constable.

But the constable was not charged in court as he had helped the prosecution. Also, he did not receive any money for helping the inmates.

The court heard that Isnin Mohamed Ali, 22, was due to be released from the Khalsa Crescent centre, off Admiralty Road, on June 1 last year.

Sometime in May, another inmate, Amin Abdullah, 29, asked him to get 100 Upjohn tablets and $200 for him. He agreed as Amin was his good friend.

When Amin said someone would call him at home, Isnin gave him his telephone number.

On May 13, inmate Sapiee Seman, 29, told constable Mohamed Hosni Mohamed Amin that another inmate, Hishamuddin Mohamed Eunos, also 29, wanted to speak to him.

The court heard that Hishamuddin told the constable he needed his help to smuggle the Upjohn tablets, "which could make them high", into the centre.

He gave Isnin's telephone number to the constable on June 16. The constable called Isnin on July 2, and was told to call again on July 15.

When he did so, Isnin said he still did not have the tablets.

The constable made a last telephone call to Isnin on Aug 3, but was told that he still had not got the tablets.

The four inmates were later caught.

On Tuesday, all four were given three years' jail and three strokes of the cane each for conspiring to traffic in drugs.

Sapiee, who was released from the centre on Sept 16, will have to serve six months more than the other three as he was also given two months' jail on each of three charges of failing to report for urine tests. The sentences are consecutive.

All four have previous convictions for drug consumption.

Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.


Straits Times, Singapore, 19 January 1999

Robber's jail term cut to 12 years

A ROBBER'S 18-year jail sentence seemed to have factored in his drug addiction wrongly, the Court of Appeal said yesterday, and cut the term to 12 years.

The robber, Roslan Abdul Rahman, 37, had stuffed a towel into his victim's mouth in June 1997.

The victim, Madam Chia Siew Hiew, 74, died of suffocation, and Roslan was convicted by the High Court last November of causing her grievous hurt while robbing her.

Judicial Commissioner Choo Han Teck, who imposed the 18-year term on him, also ordered that he be given 24 strokes of the cane.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal -- comprising Chief Justice Yong Pung How and Justices M. Karthigesu and L.P. Thean -- allowed the robber's appeal on the jail term, but not the caning.

Twenty-four strokes, the most severe under the law, is the minimum for the offence.

CJ Yong said that in passing sentence, JC Choo appeared to have taken into account the fact that Roslan was a drug addict.

"That does not appear to be correct," he said.

In the case, Roslan, who lived in a 10th floor flat in Bedok, had gone to Madam Chia's flat next door in the morning.

He had earlier watched the cleaner's movements and knew that she would leave the flat to water her plants.

He entered the flat while she was doing this, but she surprised him by returning early.

A struggle ensued, and she fell and passed out. He then stuffed the towel into her mouth.

He took $4,000 in cash, two gold rings worth $50 each and a $150 gold bracelet and left.

The court heard that he gave Ali Abdullah, 35 -- a neighbour who had suggested robbing Madam Chia -- $2,500 and the gold bracelet, both as his share and for safekeeping. A further $500 went to his wife.

He kept the remaining $1,000 for himself and told the court he threw away the two gold rings.

Madam Chia's adopted son found her in the flat the following night.

Ali has been charged, but has not been dealt with yet.

Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

The New Paper, Singapore, 22 January 1999

Jailed: Murugappan

He had parang in his pocket


A YOUNG man, who was caught with a parang, burst into tears in court when told he could be caned for the offence.

Murugappan Palanikkumar, 20, wept when the judge reminded him that the charge against him carried with it at least six strokes of the cane.

The court was earlier told that Murugappan, a foreign worker, had a 50-cm parang tucked into the pocket of his pants when he met his friends for a chat.

They were seated at a table in a hawker centre in Brickworks on Dec 9 last year.

A Cisco officer, Staff Sergeant Yeap Hook Tai, 48, was having his supper at a table nearby.

He heard a loud clang.

He saw Murugappan hurriedly picking up a parang from the ground and tucking it into his back pocket.

Staff Sgt Yeap called the police on a public phone.

Murugappan and his friends spotted him and started to walk away.

Staff Sgt Yeap stopped Murugappan from leaving. The other two men escaped.

Murugappan broke free and made a dash for the exit.

Staff Sgt Yeap gave chase and caught him again.

He then grabbed hold of Murugappan by his belt as he rang the police.

They arrived and arrested Murugappan.


Murugappan was sentenced to four months' jail on Monday.

He was also ordered to be caned six strokes, the minimum penalty.

He could have been jailed up to five years.

Copyright 1999
Singapore Press Holdings. All Rights Reserved.


Straits Times, Singapore, 24 January 1999

Man molested colleague repeatedly

Initially let off by the victim, he was reported the third time round. The married man gets jail and caning

By Elena Chong

A TECHNICIAN who had molested a colleague twice within four months was let off by the victim who was embarrassed and wanted to give him a chance because he had a family to support.

But when it happened a third time, she made a police report.

Patrick Ong Sang Tin, 44, was yesterday sentenced to a total of two years and two weeks' jail and ordered to be given four strokes of the cane.

He was found guilty of four charges of outraging and insulting the modesty of a 20-year-old colleague.

He is appealing and was offered bail of $20,000.

He was convicted by District Judge Wong Sheng Kwai after a 13-day trial.

Ong, who is married with a son, was sentenced to the minimum jail sentence of two years and four strokes of the cane for restraining the victim while molesting her along a corridor of a flatted factory in Ang Mo Kio on April 4, 1997.

He had kissed her on the cheek and neck, touched her breast and rubbed himself against her buttock.

He was sentenced to one month's jail for holding her left hand, and two weeks' jail for saying he wanted to have sex with her sometime in December 1996.

The judge also jailed him three months for grabbing the victim's right buttock on March 14, 1997.

The two-year and two-week sentences will run consecutively. The rest are concurrent.

In her testimony last May, the victim, now 21, said that she did not report the two earlier incidents of December 1996 and March 1997 as she was embarrassed, and wanted to give Ong a chance as he had a family to support.

The last straw was on April 4, 1997, when Ong, while discussing her work-related problems, placed his hand between her thighs and rubbed them. He also put his hand on her shoulder and tried to pull her towards him. She had said that when she got up, he tried to force her to sit down and placed his arms on her shoulders. He pushed her against the wall and tried to kiss her. He then touched her breasts and other parts of her body, including her crotch.

She told a colleague about the incident but was too shy to tell her superiors. Later that evening, she made a police report.

The colleague informed the management about the matter and, when questioned, Ong told the company that he was "just playing" with the victim.

He also admitted he had physical contact with her, said a prosecution witness during the trial. Ong was then sacked.

Ong, defended by Mr Jeffrey Sim, denied committing the first two incidents. On the last incident, he admitted touching her shoulders, stomach and thighs but stated that he did this to console her in her time of distress.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jasbendar Kaur prosecuted the case.

Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

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