Teen goes on crime spree, gets sent back to RTC

Just a month after his release from reformative training, the teenager was back to his criminal ways.

First, Koh Zhi Rong, 19, worked for unlicensed moneylenders and splashed paint on debtors' homes.

He also committed a slew of traffic offences - including driving without a licence and hitting a bus with his car before fleeing from the scene.

For his crimes, Koh, who faced eight charges, was liable to be jailed and even caned.

But yesterday, Community Court Judge Lim Keng Yeow gave the teenager a second chance on account of his young age and sentenced him to a second reformative training centre (RTC) stint in less than a year.

Those given reformative training spend between 18 months and three years in a reformative training centre, where they will do foot drills and undergo counselling.

Koh was also banned from driving for a year.

Court papers said Koh, who had been been convicted of voluntarily causing hurt, was released from the reformative training centre on Aug 5 last year.

Some time in the following month, an unlicensed moneylender known only as Jerry contacted Koh and offered him a job as a "commando".

Koh's job was to harass debtors by splashing paint and writing on walls of their homes as well as locking up their units. Koh agreed as he was in need of money.

Over the next two months, he splashed paint on two units, in Hougang and in Bukit Panjang.

One flat owner was at home when Koh was carrying out his misdeeds on Oct 16.

He called the police and officers nabbed Koh after a short struggle.

When Koh was questioned by the police, he admitted to a series of traffic offences, including his involvement in a hit-and-run case on Oct 6.

At 1.10pm that day, Koh, who did not have a valid driving licence, was driving a car on the middle of three lanes along Yishun Avenue 2 towards Lentor Avenue when he suddenly swerved left and in front of a bus.

CRASH

Koh's car hit the right side of the bus, flipped and landed on a grass patch.

The collision forced the bus driver to brake, which caused two elderly passengers to fall and suffer minor injuries.

Koh climbed out of his overturned vehicle and fled the scene without providing assistance.

Yesterday, Koh was sentenced for two counts of harassing people on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, as well as one count each of driving without a licence, using a vehicle without insurance coverage, inconsiderate as well as dangerous driving and failing to stop as well as render assistance after an accident.

Seven other charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

rloh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on February 2, 2016.
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