Recalcitrant offender admits to $365k heist, breaking into house and stealing while out on bail

SINGAPORE – A recalcitrant offender, who had served multiple jail terms for earlier offences, including assault, did not learn his lesson and instead took part in a heist involving $365,000 in cash on April 8, 2018.

Mohd Abdul Rahman Mohamad, now 39, was arrested two days later and was out on bail when he broke into a house to commit theft on June 26 that year. The Singaporean was traced and re-arrested the next day.

Abdul Rahman, who is now in remand, pleaded guilty in a district court on Wednesday (April 7) to one count of robbery and two housebreaking charges.

Twenty other charges for offences, including theft and harassment, will be considered during sentencing.

Abdul Rahman was the last man linked to the April 2018 robbery to be convicted in court.

Two others – Syed Mokhtar Syed Yusope, 39, and Jaromel Gee Ming Li, 30 – were each sentenced to jail and caning last September.

The court heard that Gee had been involved in a bitcoin brokerage. In April 2018, he hatched a plan with Abdul Rahman to rob prospective buyers without transferring or selling any bitcoins to them.

On April 8, that year, Malaysian Pang Joon Hau arrived at a Hotel 81 branch in Middle Road with $365,000 as he wanted to buy bitcoins from sellers in Singapore.

Gee learnt of Mr Pang’s intention from a contact and alerted Abdul Rahman, telling him to take along an additional person to commit the robbery.

Abdul Rahman contacted Mokhtar who was tasked to “intimidate and assault the victims”.

Abdul Rahman and Mokhtar went to the hotel around 11pm and met a bitcoin broker, Mr Lee Chee Kwok, before going to Mr Pang’s room.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Chin Jincheng and Chong Yong stated in court documents: “Pang showed the money to Mokhtar, and Mokhtar proceeded to punch Pang once on the left cheek. Lee attempted to intervene, but Mokhtar punched him.”

Abdul Rahman grabbed a backpack containing the cash and fled the scene with Mokhtar. The police were alerted and officers arrested Abdul Rahman at a Sentosa hotel on April 10, 2018.

The court heard that he had used some of his ill-gotten gains to buy items such as multiple pieces of jewellery. The remaining cash was not recovered, and no restitution was made.

The court also heard that Abdul Rahman had broken into a house in March 2018 and stolen valuables worth more than $100,000. He made no restitution and none of the valuables were recovered.

While out on bail after committing the robbery, he broke into another house in June 2018 and stole a safe containing valuables worth around $9,000.

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He abandoned the safe when he tried but failed to open it. Police later found it in some bushes near the house.

On Wednesday, District Judge Ronald Gwee called for reports to assess Abdul Rahman’s suitability for corrective training and preventive detention.

Both corrective training and preventive detention are for repeat offenders. They do not offer the usual one-third remission for good behaviour.

Corrective training is usually imposed when the court finds that the offender needs a substantial period of training for reformation and the prevention of crime.

The maximum period for corrective training is 14 years.

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In preventive detention, a repeat offender aged over 30 receives a substantial period of imprisonment to protect the public. The detention order can last for up to 20 years.

Abdul Rahman will be sentenced on April 28.

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