Cleaner stole toddler's gold jewellery

SINGAPORE - A part-time cleaner was fined $6,000 on Monday for stealing a gold chain and pendant worth $2,800 from a four-year-old boy.

Loi Liang Ngoh, 51, got into the lift on the 10th floor of her block of flats in Lower Delta Road at 5.30pm on March 17. The boy was playing inside with his cousin, also four.

Loi noticed the victim's gold chain and lifted it over his head. She then exited at the seventh storey and went down in another lift. The victim's mother later noticed that the jewellery was missing and called the police.

Investigators used video footage from the surveillance camera in the lift to identify and arrest Loi. By then, she had sold the loot to a jewellery shop for $1,240. Both the chain and money were recovered.

Loi pleaded guilty to theft at a district court. Defence counsel Patrick Fernandez said a fine was an appropriate punishment as the offence was "not premeditated" and his client did not harm or threaten the boy.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Clement Yong asked for a jail sentence to be imposed because Loi had targeted "a helpless victim who was not in a position to resist her".

In passing sentence, District Judge Toh Yung Cheong noted that no violence was involved.

Loi could have been jailed for up to three years, fined up to $10,000 or both.

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