SINGAPORE: An accountant with a fetish for ladies' underwear roved a housing block floor by floor to steal underwear and on one occasion cleaned out all the lingerie he could find in a flat he had broken into, hiding in a room when a maid and a child returned home.
Malaysian national So Chik Hwee, 39, was given seven months and one week's jail on Wednesday (Jan 20) for his crimes.
He pleaded guilty to three charges of theft and housebreaking to commit theft, with another three charges considered in sentencing.
On Apr 30, 2019, So noticed several bras and panties hanging outside a flat along the corridor of a housing block.
He observed the flat for 10 minutes and decided to break in when he saw no activity inside.
He walked over and looked in, before sliding open the glass window and inserting his hand into the flat to open the main door.
So searched through a pile of laundry in the kitchen and pocketed a pair of panties. He then went into a bedroom and searched through the drawers. He packed all the bras and panties he could find into a plastic bag that was on a table.
However, before he could leave, a child returned home with a domestic helper.
So closed the door to the bedroom and hid there until he was able to leave without being seen, fleeing through the front door with his bag of stolen clothes.
On a second occasion on Jun 25, 2019, So took a lift to the highest floor of a block of flats and walked down the staircase floor by floor to see if he could steal any underwear.
When he got to the fifth floor, he saw two women leave their flat and noticed that the door and gate were unlocked.
He knocked on the door to ensure no one was home, before entering and stealing 26 bras, 11 pairs of panties, a pair of stockings and two nightgown tops worth S$1,590 in total.
He stole again in October last year after he saw underwear hung out to dry on the sixth floor of a block. He stole three bras and eight pairs of panties.
So was caught and remanded later that month. He was found to be in possession of 60 bras and 44 panties, which he could not give a satisfactory account for. Court documents did not indicate how he was caught.
A medical report from the Institute of Mental Health found that So had a fetishistic disorder with a long-standing intense sexual arousal from women's underwear, specifically panties, for attaining sexual gratification.
However, So was found to be fully aware of the nature and wrongfulness of his acts at the time.
The prosecutor asked for nine months' jail. So's lawyer Wee Hong Shern asked for six months' jail instead, saying his client has no previous convictions and was fired from his job due to the case.
For housebreaking by day to commit theft, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years. For theft in dwelling, he could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined, while he could have been jailed for up to three years and fined for theft.