Singapore—A Malaysian national who overstayed in the country in the hopes of finding another job turned to crime and was sentenced to two months and seven weeks’ jail and three strokes of the cane on Wednesday (September 16).
Twenty-six year old Song Yin’s work permit was cancelled by his employer earlier this year. Instead of returning to Malaysia, he stayed on in Singapore to look for another job, but was unsuccessful. Mr Song then resorted to a number of illegal activities after his savings ran out.
On September 16, he pleaded guilty to eight charges, which included overstaying in Singapore for 190 days as well as stealing bicycles, a mobile phone, and debit cards. Nine more similar charges were considered at his sentencing.
Mr Song’s work permit had been cancelled on January 14, 2020. He remained jobless for the next five months and was arrested on July 22.
The court heard that his crime spree started in June, when he began stealing bicycles from bicycle bays. Mr Song would then sell these bikes on the online platform Carousell to make a quick buck.
Aside from stealing bicycles, he also robbed at least one person. On July 11, he chanced upon a 66-year-old man sleeping on a bench at an HDB void deck in Bedok North. Mr Song took the man’s Passion card, ATM card, phone, ten $50 notes plus other items among the man’s possessions.
The man woke up just in time to see Mr Song walking away, as he felt something pulling on his bag. Discovering that some of his belongings were gone, the older man filed a police report that he had been robbed.
When Mr Song found a POSB debit card at Kembangan MRT Station, he made three unauthorised transactions, which the card owner discovered after seeing them on his e-statement. The owner then also filed a police report.
The Malaysian national also discovered another DBS ATM debit card, from which he made eight unauthorised transactions, and included five drinks from a vending machine. When the owner of the card tried to make a purchase, she found that it was gone, and immediately cancelled the card. She was then informed by her bank that on July 22, eight transactions had been made.
The owner of the DBS ATM debit card, also filed a police report against the thief.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ang Siok Chen asked for a jail sentence of 15 to 18 weeks’ jail as well as three strokes of the cane, which is the mandatory minimum for remaining illegally in Singapore. This sentence, she said, would reflect Mr Song’s conduct “of committing different types of offences while overstaying.”
For the charge of illegal overstaying, the maximum jail sentence is 6 months. If he had not been caned, he would have been made to pay as much as S$6,000.
For every charge of thievery, Mr Song could have gotten a jail sentence of up to three years, a fine, or both penalties. And on the charge of dishonest misappropriation, Mr Song could have been jailed for up to two years, be given a fine, or both penalties. —/TISG