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.

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