If you rob a prostitute, she would not dare to report the crime to the police.
That was what this gang of young robbers thought when they hatched a plan to rob sex workers.
They were proven wrong when one of their victims, a freelance masseuse, made a report three days after they had restrained her with cable ties and robbed her.
One of the robbers, full-time national serviceman Koh Zhi Wei, now 20, was yesterday sentenced to reformative training after pleading guilty to one count of robbery.
A second robbery charge and one count of being in possession of an offensive instrument - an extendable metal baton - were taken into consideration during sentencing.
His teenage accomplices, Lydia Cholris Soh Ru Hui, 18, Royce Tan Wen Jun, 19, and Chong Sheng Wang, also 19, had been dealt with in court earlier and were also given similar sentences. They have to spend between 18 months and three years in a reformative training centre and follow a strict regimen that includes foot drills and counselling.
On Nov 13 last year, Tan told Chong that he had gambling debts and wanted to earn a quick buck illegally.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenny Yang said Chong told Tan he could rob prostitutes at their apartments and claimed he had done it before.
Tan approached Koh and Soh and they agreed to take part in the robbery.
The following day, Tan and Soh bought two pairs of white gloves and a packet of cable ties.
That afternoon, Chong rented a car for $300 and picked up his accomplices. They had with them two extendable metal batons.
After making an appointment with freelance masseuse Lin Mei Rui, they drove to her home at Sims Edge condominium at Geylang East Avenue 2 at around 10.30pm.
Tan and Koh went up to her unit while their two accomplices waited in the car nearby to make a quick getaway.
When Ms Lin opened her front door, Tan and Koh took out their batons and ordered her to kneel on the living room floor.
They spotted her housemate, housewife Zhang Daoqiong, 38, and ordered her to do likewise.
The robbers used cable ties to restrain the two Chinese nationals' hands.
Tan and Koh searched the unit and made off with cash and valuables worth $5,500 in all. They left the unit and all four youngsters fled the scene in the car. Chong divided the loot when they reached a nearby multi-storey carpark.
It was not clear how they were caught.
Yesterday, District Judge Mathew Joseph sentenced Koh to reformative training even though he was found to be suitable for probation.
He said an offender's young age should not be a shield to make him immune to the consequences of his crime and there is a need to deter other potential offenders from committing similar crimes in future.
For robbery, Koh could have been jailed up to 14 years and been given at least 12 strokes of the cane.
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