SINGAPORE - A robber who attacked a woman at a lift landing not long after finishing an eight-year sentence found himself back in prison and facing further caning yesterday.
Zulkarnain Jaafar, 38, choked and punched 48-year-old sales executive Lee Hui Eng as he and a friend robbed her of a sling bag, coin pouch, $400 iPhone and $300 cash at a Crawford Lane HDB block last Nov 16.
He was sentenced to 6½ years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane yesterday after admitting to the offence. He had been released seven months earlier from an eight-year corrective training stint for armed robbery, robbery with hurt and theft, and had been caned.
His latest crime was carried out allegedly with Muhammad Izwan Shah Mohd Hod, 21, whose case is pending, after they had been drinking at Arab Street.
The court was told how the pair decided to commit a snatch theft or robbery as they were in need of money.
They spotted their victim carrying a sling bag as she walked towards the HDB block, then followed her and entered the lift with her, it heard.
As she was about to exit, Zulkarnain grabbed her from behind and placed his hands around her neck to choke her. She struggled and was punched by the pair in her face and stomach.
Zulkarnain then shouted to Izwan to take the victim's sling bag. The court heard that both then fled down the stairs to hail a cab along the main road. Neighbours heard the commotion and called the police.
Zulkarnain and his alleged accomplice took out some cash from the sling bag to pay for the fare, threw away the bag when they alighted in Geylang, then sold the phone to a passer-by for $140.
In mitigation, Zulkarnain said he committed the crime due to peer pressure, and he had no choice as his friend had paid for the drinks. He admitted he made the wrong choice.
District Judge Christopher Goh told him: "It is always up to you to say yes or no. There are consequences that follow when you say yes or no. No one put a knife to your throat to ask you to commit the offence."
He noted that the crime was committed shortly after Zulkarnain's release from prison, and that the offence was "quite aggravated".
The maximum penalty is 20 years' jail with a minimum of 12 strokes of the cane.
This article was first published on January 8, 2015.
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