Singapore

Prosecution seeks stiffer sentence for card cheat

Graduate who spent almost $4,000 with misappropriated debit card sentenced to short detention order

Prosecutors wanted a dedit card cheat to be put behind bars for three months, but the court decided instead to give the new Singapore Management University (SMU) graduate a short detention order of 14 days and 220 hours of community service.

The prosecution is now appealing against the sentence given to Goh Bing Kun, 27.

Goh had admitted using a debit card found by an accomplice at Zouk on Jan 24, 2015. Both men used it to buy drinks.

The next day, they used the card again to buy other items, including two iPhones in Bencoolen Street.

Goh, who was once awarded National Serviceman of the Year while with the 1st Commando Battalion, was then studying at SMU. He recently graduated and is now a management trainee.

The police nabbed him and his accomplice J. Xander Roslan, 28, two weeks after the card owner Evan Kong, 24, reported the unauthorised transactions. Roslan is due to be dealt with separately.

Goh admitted to three charges - two for cheating and one for misappropriating the debit card.

Deterrence is well achieved through community-based sentences. Goh Bing Kun's lawyer on his client's sentence

Eight other charges were taken into consideration. All were for cheating to induce the delivery of property.

Goh paid back the total sum lost by Mr Kong, which amounted to $3,945.95, in July 2015.Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryan Leow argued that the offences were serious enough for Goh to be jailed for three months in all.

But Goh's lawyer James Ow Yong countered that rehabilitation should be the dominant sentencing consideration.

"Deterrence is well achieved through community-based sentences," he said.

The lawyer added that Goh is progressing well in his career, among other things. In judgment grounds issued earlier this month, District Judge Low Wee Ping agreed that a community-based sentence was appropriate.

It "can achieve an even stronger deterrent effect with a short period of incarceration, while not extend to such a long period as to jeopardise the accused's career and future prospects", the judge said.

Judge Low noted that Goh had voluntarily sought counselling and taken ownership of his mistakes, and he accepted that Goh was "significantly remorseful".

Goh's sentence has been stayed pending the appeal.

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