He targeted escorts, masseuses
Robber sentenced to jail and caning
His plan: Pretend to be a client to an illegal foreign escort or masseuse. Once inside her home, pretend to be a policeman. Get accomplice to stage fake police raid on unit. Rob the woman.
Teo Zhi Jie, who was jobless, roped in his friends to carry it out.
They targeted three women between February and April last year and robbed them of valuables such as mobile phones and $3,094.35 in cash before they were caught.
Yesterday, Teo, 21, was jailed for two years and seven months, ordered to receive 12 strokes of the cane and fined $30,000.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery and one count each of cheating and assisting an unlicensed moneylender.
Three other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.
On Feb 26 last year, Teo told his friend Lee Qing Yew, 19, of his plan. Lee agreed to join him and they also roped in Melvin Tan Shen Kang, 18.
The trio met later that day at Serangoon Road and bought some cable ties.
They also made an appointment with Ms Hu Yang, a freelance masseuse from China, and went to her Balestier Road unit.
Teo met her at around 7pm and once inside, he went to a toilet to slip on a pair of rubber gloves.
When Ms Hu went to check on him, he pushed her onto a bed, covered her mouth and secured her hands with a cable tie.
After that, he alerted his accomplices and he passed them her belongings including $1,694.35 in cash, a credit card and a Gucci bag.
They left the unit and divided the loot.
Ms Hu made a police report about two hours later.
The court heard that Teo kept the credit card, which he used to buy a pair of headphones worth $499 from Mustafa Centre at around midnight.
On April 18 last year, Teo, Lee and another friend, Andrew Tan Zhi Wei, 28, tried to rob a second freelance masseuse in her unit at Kim Keat Road, off Balestier Road.
They targeted Chinese national He Yuanyuan and made off with items including $800 in cash, two mobile phones and a pair of sunglasses, after Lee got a massage from her.
Teo and Andrew Tan fled the scene. But Lee was caught by Ms He's boyfriend, who entered the unit before he left.
Lee's two accomplices then returned and gave the couple all of their loot except for the sunglasses, which could not be recovered. Lee also gave Ms He $500 as restitution.
She made a police report on June 15. Besides these cases, in May 2013, Teo also helped an unlicensed moneylender, known only as Sam, by providing an ATM card for the latter's runner. The account, which was under Teo's name, was used to facilitate Sam's loansharking business.
Lee was sentenced to reformative training on Dec 24 last year.
Melvin Tan's case is still pending while Andrew Tan absconded.
For each count of robbery, Teo could have been jailed up to 10 years and caned.
For assisting unlicensed moneylender, he could have been jailed up to four years and fined between $30,000 and $300,000.
They decided to target illegal escorts because they thought that such persons would not dare make police reports against them.
- Deputy public prosecutor Sarah Shi on the way they operated