SINGAPORE: A teenager planned a robbery by writing down details in a notebook of what he would wear, what he would steal and how he would carry it out.
He turned up at a minimart in Kembangan in a surgical mask, jacket and cap, wielding a knife and said "da qiang" or robbery in Mandarin. In response, the cashier told him to go into the shop and fled to another store for help.
The teen, who cannot be named under the Children and Young Persons Act as he was under 18 at the time of the crime, was given 27 months' probation on Wednesday (Nov 25). His lawyer said in mitigation that his client had problems coping in school.
The 16-year-old will have to stay at the Singapore Boys' Hostel for six months, undergo regular urine tests and psychiatric or psychological assessments for his drug and alcohol use.
The court heard that the teen detailed in his notebook that he would wear a cap, sunglasses, a mask, a hoodie, pants and covered shoes during the robbery. He planned to bring a knife and a big bag, and to flash the weapon before stealing all the cigarettes and money in the cash register.
He also listed prices of the cigarettes packets in the notebook and planned to sell them for money.
At about 5.20am on Feb 14 this year, the teen went to the New Econ Lin Da Mini Supermart at Block 110 Lengkong Tiga. He saw the cashier, a 58-year-old man, standing outside the entrance and approached him.
The teen pointed his knife at the man and said "da qiang", which means robbery in Mandarin. Afraid, the cashier told the teen that he should go into the shop by himself if he wanted to rob it.
The man then rushed to a nearby shop to seek help, while the teen entered the minimart alone. He was unable to open the cash register to steal the cash as he had planned, so he took 42 packets of cigarettes worth S$571.20 from a drawer.
The teen then put the cigarettes in his haversack and headed home, keeping the items in his bedroom.
The minimart owner later called the police saying that a man with a knife had gone to the shop to rob it and took a lot of cigarettes, with events recorded on closed-circuit television.
The police found the teen at his home and arrested him. They found the cigarettes and the notebook detailing his plans.
The teen pleaded guilty to one count of robbery. His lawyer Luke Lee said his client had problems coping with his studies in school, and the teen's parents put up a bond of S$5,000 to ensure his good behaviour during probation.
For robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, he could have been jailed between three and 14 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.