A general worker who terrorised a woman at knifepoint during a brazen armed robbery in Geylang Bahru has been sentenced to four and a half years of jail and 12 strokes of the cane.
Malaysian Lee Heong Chye, 35, was also banned from driving for five years as part of yesterday's sentence.
He admitted to robbing Ms Chung Yi Ren of cash and property totalling $2,251 at knifepoint; taking morphine; possessing a packet with 0.17g of heroin; and stealing the 33-year-old sales operations manager's $53,000 car.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhou Yihong said Lee had decided to rob someone when he was cash-strapped on Dec 1.
He went to a hawker centre near the carpark at Block 70A Geylang Bahru carrying a pouch with a penknife and duct tape, which he planned to use on his victim.
At about 4pm, after waiting for seven to eight hours, he saw Ms Chung arrive, park her car and walk off. He then waited for her to come back.
About 20 minutes later, she returned and got into her Mazda.
Lee opened the driver's door, pointed a penknife at her and asked her to move over to the front passenger seat. She did so out of fear.
DPP Zhou said Lee got into the driver's seat and warned Ms Chung at knifepoint not to shout. He found a car key in her handbag. She tried to open the passenger door but he stopped her and asked her to buckle up. When she refused, he scolded her. He then asked her to teach him how to start the engine.
He was driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other pointing the penknife at the victim's thigh area. She handed over all the cash to him as requested, but managed to hide her $1,500 watch.
Lee drove into the multi-storey carpark at Block 60A, where he rummaged through her handbag and took her wallet and several cards.
He asked for her ATM PIN number and after spotting her watch, took that too.
He then bound her wrists with masking tape and taped her body to the passenger seat, including her neck. He removed the tape on her neck after she said she could not breathe.
He scolded her for lying about not knowing where she had put her mobile phone, which he found in her handbag.
After robbing her, Lee went to his workplace in Geylang Bahru. He threw away the phone after failing to unlock it and the penknife into the Kallang canal.
He also tried to withdraw money from the UOB ATM but the PIN was incorrect.
He then took a bus to Johor Baru where he exchanged the cash taken from the victim for about RM830 (S$320), which he lost in illegal jackpot machines. The watch and three ATM cards were later found on him.
Three days later, he was arrested near Royal Plaza on Scotts on suspicion of drug consumption.
Seeking a stiff jail sentence, Ms Zhou highlighted several aggravating factors.
She said Lee's offence was pre-meditated; he had also instilled considerable fear in the victim and took steps to avoid detection by driving to the highest deck.
The sentence for armed robbery is jail for up to 10 years and at least six strokes of the cane
The maximum penalty for the drug offences is 10 years' jail and a $20,000 fine each.
This article was published on April 2 in The Straits Times.
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