Singapore

Recalcitrant thief jailed 50 weeks

A woman branded "a recalcitrant thief" was jailed for 50 weeks yesterday for swiping cash and other property from shops, and stealing handbags from people in public places.

Azma Masoh Di, 46, committed a total of 16 offences of theft or attempted theft over a four-month period, a court heard.

An odd-job worker, she was arrested on Aug 17 for the attempted theft of a handbag at a food centre in People's Park Complex. She was also found to be in fraudulent possession of eight ez-link cards.

Azma, who faced 29 charges, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of theft, attempted theft, fraudulent possession, causing hurt and dishonest misappropriation of a handbag. District Judge Lim Tse Haw backdated her sentence to Aug 19 this year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Nim called her a recalcitrant thief, noting that she had been jailed for theft in 2016. He said the pattern of her offences showed premeditation in that she deliberately exploited the carelessness of her victims.

In some cases, Azma took deliberate steps to avoid detection by distracting victims.

In a July 28 incident, the court heard Ms Wu Shixian, 59, had placed her bag on an adjacent chair when having a meal with a friend at a restaurant in Smith Street. At about 8.30pm, Azma sat next to their table without ordering any food. A few minutes later, she took Ms Wu's bag and left. When Ms Wu discovered the loss, a staff member told her she had seen Azma leave with two bags.

Azma's lawyer, Ms Alice Tan said that her client had a troubled past, two failed marriages and five children. She added that Azma had realised that a life of crime cannot help her deal with her financial and family issues.- THE STRAITS TIMES

COURT & CRIME