- POSTED: 13 Jan 2014 14:07
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Two Chinese nationals were on Monday jailed by a district court for a spate of housebreaking offences that dated back to 2007.
SINGAPORE: Two Chinese nationals were on Monday jailed by a district court for a spate of housebreaking offences that dated back to 2007.
Liu Qiangde, 32, was jailed seven-and-a-half years for the crimes while his friend, Chen Yuncai, 33, was jailed five-and-a-half years.
The court heard that the men were caught in October last year during an ambush operation by the police, following reports of multiple break-ins at private residential estates around the island.
DNA samples taken from Liu linked him to several home break-ins in 2007 and 2009, while Chen's DNA samples linked him to other similar incidents in 2009.
The court also heard that both men came to Singapore intending to commit housebreaking.
Chen had noticed on a previous visit that the perimeter walls of landed properties in Singapore were lower compared to those in China, and had presumed that the properties here were easier to break into.
The men were aware of each other's housebreaking sprees, and on at least one occasion had met up before going their separate ways to commit the crimes.
Liu had even handed some stolen items to Chen for safekeeping.
The men would strike mostly at night or in the early hours of the morning.
In total, the two men were involved in 23 cases of housebreaking involving $119,003 of stolen property.
The items they took included branded watches and handbags, electronics such as iPads and laptops, as well as cash.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Benny Tan pointed out that the break-ins had been premeditated, noting that the men had come to Singapore with the intent of committing the crimes.
He also highlighted the high value of the items stolen, and urged the court not to treat both men as first-time offenders as they had committed similar offences before, although they had not been caught.
In mitigation, Liu said he committed the crimes because of a failed business, and that he had to provide for a school-going child.
Liu was working as a hawker back in China.
Chen said he was remorseful about what he had done.
In meting out the sentence, District Judge Eddy Tham called their crimes "appalling" and said they warranted a severe and deterrent sentence.