Cop jailed for cheating over $150 'fine'

Cop jailed for cheating over $150 'fine'

A police corporal who threatened to send a man's teenage cousin to a girl's home, unless he paid him a $150 "fine", was jailed for five months on Wednesday.

Shawn Lim Zi Han, 22, an investigation officer with Clementi Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC), admitted cheating the 33-year-old man who had gone to him after his 14-year-old relative was reported for stealing a wallet.

A district court heard that Lim was investigating her for dishonest misappropriation of property and recommended that she be placed on a guidance programme over the incident at City Vibe mall in August 2012.

Investigations found that Lim asked the girl's mother to pay him a fine of $150, after which the case would be closed. The mother subsequently called her daughter's 33-year-old cousin to accompany her to the NPC on Aug 20. There, Lim told him to pay the $150, otherwise his cousin could be sent to a girls' home.

Believing it was a legitimate procedure, the cousin gave Lim $150 and thought the case would be settled.

However the case was reassigned to another investigation officer, Ms Noraini Hussain, 32, who told the teen and her parents to attend a guidance programme introductory meeting. The mother told her that they had paid $150 to Lim, who gave the assurance that the case would be closed.

When Ms Noraini checked with Lim, he said the payment was a "settlement". But the teenager's mother said that the cash was a "fine" and not compensation.

The officer then found that the acknowledgement slip was not in the investigation paper and lodged a police report against Lim on December 27 that year for cheating.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Foong Leong Parn sought a stiff sentence, highlighting aggravating factors such as Lim's position and the fact that it was not an isolated incident.

District Judge Shawn Ho agreed: "As an investigation officer who has power and responsibility, you ought to exercise it for the public good, but instead you abused that."

Another similar charge involving $150 was taken into consideration. Lim, who has made full restitution of $300, could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined. The police said that Lim, who joined the force in June 2011, has been interdicted since July last year.

elena@sph.com.sg


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