SINGAPORE - A thief's gambling habit got so bad that a judge jailing him for nearly 41/2 years told him to put himself on a register banning himself from casinos.
Waiter Jackson Lim Teck Meng, 36, was so desperate to recover the cash he had frittered away that he even stole $2,800 from his boss at the BBHQ restaurant near Jalan Besar.
When he confessed to owner Alex Png Cheong Gaun, 42, what he had done in September, he was given another chance and they agreed he could continue working while making restitution through deductions from his salary.
But just two days later, Lim stole $300 cash and a $828 phone from a Malaysian colleague at a dormitory above the restaurant.
Lim had faced six charges involving $5,553. He admitted stealing from BBHQ plus three counts of theft totalling $2,200.
For his first theft, in August this year, he targeted another former workplace after losing money at Marina Bay Sands casino.
Wearing a uniform that he found, he pretended to set up the Kopitiam stall of Mr Tan Yiow Koon, 46, at Plaza Singapura and took $295 from a drawer. He had left the stall a month earlier.
After gambling away the money he had stolen, he committed his final theft on Oct 7 when he took coins totalling $157, a gold ring and a bracelet from a tenant he was sharing a flat with in Hougang. He pawned the jewellery for $620 and went to Marina Bay Sands - where he lost the lot.
Lim promised District Judge Lee Poh Choo that he would not re-offend again but she warned him: "If you re-offend, appear again in court, I believe you will not be able to plead for a lenient sentence.
"You would definitely be sentenced to corrective training the next time."
Lim has previous convictions for property-related offences and a corrective training report found he has moderate risk of re-offending.
Corrective training, which lasts between five and 14 years, is a regime for repeat offenders.
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