SINGAPORE: A young couple who conspired with an even younger Malaysian teenager to rob prostitutes of money was sentenced to jail on Tuesday (Jan 1).
Chow Chia Suan, 23, was sentenced to four years' jail, while her boyfriend Benjamin Yong Dun Zheng, also 23, received three-and-a-half years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.
The court heard that the couple hatched a plot in August 2017 with 18-year-old Mendel See Li Quan, who Chow met through a mutual friend, to steal money from foreign prostitutes.
They decided to first contact prostitutes who listed their services online, before offering large amounts of money for sex at either of the two men's homes.
There, they would steal from the women while they were in the bathroom. The other plan was for one of them to act as the "customer" and pretend to be surprised by the other two accomplices who would show up as "loansharks" demanding money from the former.
The trio agreed to split the loot among themselves.
TRIO ROB CHINA PROSTITUTE OF CASH
They put this plan to work just a month after coming up with it, targeting a 27-year-old prostitute from China. She was working as a beauty therapist in Singapore at the time, and listed massage and sexual services on classified ad site Locanto at S$170 per session.
The three friends contacted her, offering S$350 for a session at See's place, more than double her rate.
The victim accepted the offer and met See at his home, where he promised her S$1,500 to keep him company for the whole day.
After having sex, the victim went to the bathroom, and See stole S$670 in cash from her bag, handing it to Chow and Yong.
See later drove the prostitute to Upper Thomson on the pretext of getting some food, but left her there, where she discovered that she had been robbed.
The three young criminals continued their spree a month later.
See found another listing on Locanto by a 53-year-old Singaporean woman who offered massage and sexual services at clients' homes and also helped to engage other prostitutes.
The woman asked a Filipino prostitute to head down to See's home, but she did not turn up.
ROD, CHOPPER BRANDISHED AT OLDER PROSTITUTE IN REVENGE SCHEME
Angered, See decided to take revenge against the 53-year-old woman. He used Chow's phone to contact her, offering her S$900 so that she would take up the job herself.
He arranged for her to meet at Yong's home, where Yong received her as part of the plan. Chow and See were hiding elsewhere in the unit.
Once the woman was in the house, See appeared, brandishing a rod and pretending to be a loanshark demanding cash from Yong.
He handed the rod to Chow, who pointed it at the prostitute, and produced a chopper that he had tucked behind him.
The woman was frightened and begged the friends to let her leave, but they asked her to pay Yong's supposed debt.
In the confrontation, See took the woman's bag from her and handed it to Chow, who took S$100 in cash from it, along with two handphones worth S$650 in total and a pack of cigarettes.
The fearful woman said she wished to go home, but See said she had to remove all her clothes before she could do so. He then asked his two accomplices to leave the room, and they complied.
See released the victim less than half an hour later, and she later lodged a police report.
The three friends spent the money they had stolen on food, transport and games at an Internet gaming shop, before being arrested the following day.
They had also cheated Chow's mother by lying to her that she had to pay loansharks money to retrieve Chow's NRIC as it had supposedly been taken by Malaysian loansharks.
See has been charged and his case is before the High Court.