Man in debt jailed for cheating and theft

Pressured to repay debts of more than $50,000, a man stole a Chinese national's cellphone after having sex with her at her home in Geylang.

Tan Chia Hao, 32, then duped the 28-year-old victim into giving him $1,000 to get it back, together with other items he had stolen.

Yesterday, the unemployed man was jailed for one month for cheating, and given a concurrent one-day jail term and a $2,000 fine for theft.

A third charge of attempting to extort $15,000 from one Mr Shee Yew Khuen, by threatening to expose his extramarital affair with the victim, was taken into consideration during sentencing.

A district court heard that the victim, performing artist Yao Maojiao, received a call from Tan at about 1am on June 23. He wanted to meet at her home for sex at a rate of $70 an hour. She agreed.

After sex, he noticed the victim using a white iPhone and decided to steal it. When the victim fell asleep, Tan took her phone as well as a pouch containing her work permit, $20 and an access card with a key.

When he first tried to sell the phone, he was refused as he did not have its password. The following day, he managed to unlock the phone but the prices quoted were not satisfactory.

Between June 26 and 27, he contacted the victim and told her that he had her phone. As the phone was given to the victim by her boyfriend and held personal information, the victim was anxious to get it back.

She eventually agreed to give $1,000 to Tan. But he did not return the phone and feigned ignorance when she sent him messages to return it.

In his written mitigation, Tan said he had a debt of $52,000 - $30,000 of which was owed to loan sharks and the rest to licensed moneylenders and friends. He told District Judge Ng Peng Hong that he is now working part-time for his brother.

This article was first published on Nov 26, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.