Singapore

Robber who fled Singapore hiding in luggage gets jail, caning

A robber managed to evade the Singapore authorities for about six years after he illegally fled to Batam by hiding inside a piece of luggage.

Singaporean Khoo Wei Chyi, 42, was part of a group that pretended to be National Environment Agency (NEA) officers to enter and rob a Pavilion Rise home in Bukit Batok on Sept 22, 2010.

He left Singapore in July 2011 to evade a court date and was sent back only this April after Indonesian immigration officers arrested him in January for overstaying.

Yesterday, Khoo was sentenced to four years and nine months' jail and six strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to one count each of robbery and leaving Singapore from an unauthorised departure point.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Sum said that in 2010, two of Khoo's accomplices had found out that the owner of the Pavilion Rise house kept large amounts of money at home and decided to rob him.

They roped in Khoo and two others to take part in the heist.

All five unemployed men decided to pose as NEA officers so that they could get into the semi-detached house on the pretext of checking it for mosquitoes.

The men went to the location on Sept 22 that year and slipped on surgical masks when the home owner's wife and nine-year-old daughter came home at 12.50pm.

One of the men started fogging with equipment they had earlier bought while another approached the housewife to tell her they needed to check inside the house as well.

All five went in when she gave permission.

On the third storey, Khoo whipped out a knife and told her "they just wanted money".

She told him about a safe in the master bedroom.

DPP Sum said the robbers restrained the woman, her daughter and their maid with cable ties before using tools such as crowbars to force the safe open. They also forced open a second safe.

LOOT

The men helped themselves to about $113,000 in cash and valuables before fleeing. They divided the loot and Khoo received $18,000, which he used to repay his debts and gamble.

After his arrest, Khoo surrendered his passport to the authorities and was due to plead guilty to his offences when he absconded.

Investigations revealed he had paid $5,000 to a man known only as Ah Wen, who helped him get out.

All four of Khoo's accomplices have been dealt with in court.

courtjailNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY