Man posts sister's treatment at IMH on social media as revenge for $150 owed

SINGAPORE – To get back at his younger sister for owing him $150, Syahrel Mohamad posted her medical information on social media and stole grocery vouchers that were given out in Budget 2020 from her letter box.

His sister was being treated for depression at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) at the time.

The 36-year-old had posted a picture of her medical bill on his public Instagram account in December last year with the caption “gile rupe nye… hahahahaha” in Malay, which translates to “this person is crazy”.

On Wednesday (Aug 25), Syahrel pleaded guilty to seven charges, including intentionally causing distress, criminal intimidation, committing a rash act to endanger human life, voluntarily causing hurt, theft and failing to report for bail.

Syahrel, the oldest of five children, was sentenced to eight months and 12 weeks’ jail and fined $2,500.

The court heard that on Dec 18 last year, he forcibly broke open the letter box to his sister’s unit and stole grocery vouchers worth $100.

The Budget 2020 grocery voucher scheme was rolled out last year to help Singaporeans who are less well-off amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

He gave $30 in vouchers to his fiancee, who was unaware that they were stolen, and the rest to random people in the Bukit Panjang area.

His younger sister realised that the vouchers were stolen about two weeks later, when she called a helpline operator to inquire about them. She was told that they had been delivered and redeemed partly.

She called the police that day to report the theft.

Syahrel found his sister’s IMH bill when he returned to the letter box on Dec 19 last year to steal more items.

It contained her personal details and information that she was being treated at the facility. He posted these details online.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Benjamin Samynathan told the court that his sister felt “upset and distressed” when her medical information was made public.

Syahrel also had an issue with his mother, a widow.

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In November last year, he sent threatening messages to intimidate her into returning the $500 he had given her.

He told his mother he would slash her head with a parang, send people up to her unit and splash paint at the flat.

In December, Syahrel had also threatened to hurt another sister’s family members if she did not return the $510 he had given her to invest in cryptocurrency.

He was also involved in another incident on Dec 16 last year, when he locked the front wheel of a man’s e-bicycle with a padlock after an argument with him.

As a result, the man fell to the ground and injured his leg while trying to ride his bicycle. However, he did not seek medical treatment.

Criminal intimidation carries a jail term of up to two years and a fine.

For intentionally causing distress, Syahrel could have been jailed for up to six months and fined $5,000.

He could have been jailed for up to three years and fined for theft. For committing a rash act to endanger human life, he could have been jailed for up to a year and fined $5,000.

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