SINGAPORE - BREAKING into an eighth-storey flat was easy. But getting out after being cornered was another matter.
Rather than surrender to the police, Pek Kok Chong, 39, risked plunging to his death by climbing out of a bedroom window and scaling down the side of an HDB block using curtains as a makeshift rope.
But his escape attempt was short-lived. The police nabbed him in a flat on the sixth storey. Pek, whose loot from his ill-fated burglary was a mere $123.17, pleaded guilty to two counts of housebreaking and one count of theft on Aug 8.
District Judge Siva Shanmugam on Tuesday sentenced the jobless man to five years of corrective training and 12 strokes of the cane. Four other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.
For each count of housebreaking, Pek could have been jailed up to 10 years. For theft, he could have been jailed up to seven years and fined.
Corrective training is a prison regime for repeat offenders and does not offer the usual one-third remission for good behaviour.
Pek, who was released from prison last May after serving time for housebreaking and theft, has been in and out of jail since 1989.
On June 26, he broke into a flat on the floor where he lived at Block 641, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4. Its owner, Madam Cheng Khah Gaik, 80, was out at the time.
But another neighbour, a housewife who wanted to be known only as Ms Gini, 35, told The New Paper that she had called the police after spotting Pek removing a glass pane from a louvre window to gain entry into the flat around 11am that day.
She said: "His sister used to live with him and I often looked after her five-year-old son. She told me that he had a criminal record. That's why I became suspicious when I saw him at the corridor.
"As I was calling the police, I noticed that half his body was already inside Ah Ma's (Madam Cheng's) flat. I was shocked."