SINGAPORE - He wanted to get the phone numbers of prostitutes in the hope that they would give him discounted rates for their services in the future.
So former pest control officer Yusri Abdul Wahab, 39, pretended to be a policeman in a bid to dupe the sex workers. But his ploy failed and he was arrested by the real cops.
Yusri, who is no longer employed, was jailed for eight months yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of impersonating a public servant and two charges of theft.
Two other theft charges were taken into consideration during sentencing - he stole camera equipment worth $31,771 between January and May last year.
Yusri came up with the idea of fooling prostitutes after watching a television show which featured a character carrying out a similar ruse.
Yusri, who had always wanted to be a police officer, used to frequent a shop at Peninsula Shopping Centre to buy police-related items.
He went there on May 7 last year to buy items such as a leather pass holder and a lanyard.
After that, he made his way to Jalan Suka in Geylang at around 10pm and approached a prostitute from China. Pretending to be a policeman, he managed to fool her into handing over her passport and work permit.
GOT PHONE NUMBER
He returned the documents after looking through them and got her to give him her phone number. Emboldened by this, Yusri made his way to a unit at nearby Lorong 22 that had about 10 prostitutes inside.
He walked past its caretaker, Mr Tay Siow Huat, 60, who was standing outside, went up to the women and flashed them a bogus pass.
Yusri told them that he was from Tanglin Police Division and as he looked through their work permits, he spoke into his Bluetooth earpiece to give the impression that he was conducting a legitimate check.
Mr Tay overheard Yusri telling a so-called colleague to send a van over to pick up the prostitutes.
One of Mr Tay's friends, who was nearby, smelled a rat and pretended to call the police. Yusri immediately left when he saw this. The police were notified and Yusri was arrested.
Yusri also stole items, including camera bodies and lenses, while carrying out pest control operations in two homes at Swettenham Road near Queenstown.
He sold his loot at camera shops and used the money to pay his loan shark debts. The court heard that the stolen items had not been recovered and Yusri had not made restitution.
In mitigation, Yusri's lawyer Mr K. Jayakumar Naidu said he had stolen the items "out of desperate need for money".
For impersonating a public servant, Yusri could have been jailed up to two years and fined. And for each count of theft, he could have been jailed up to seven years and fined.
This article was first published on January 8, 2015.
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