SINGAPORE: A serial thief who has been committing offences since 1993 found a job as a cleaner for three years after completing his last stint of preventive detention, but turned to crime again.
Pang Sin Bee, 56, was sentenced to eight years' preventive detention on Monday (Jan 17) for stealing groceries and trespassing into a house to sip from a Coke can.
Preventive detention is a harsh punishment that places a recalcitrant offender in jail for seven to 20 years in order to protect the public from the offender.
Pang pleaded guilty to a charge of theft and house trespass to commit theft. Three other offences were taken into consideration.
The court heard that Pang went to the NTUC FairPrice outlet at Block 712, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 on Jan 8 last year.
A security officer saw him behaving suspiciously by placing snacks from the shelves into a plastic bag he was carrying.
Pang was handed a shopping basket and asked to pay for the items, but instead tried to leave the store with his filled basket.
He was caught with about S$78 worth of groceries including 12 packets of peanuts and two packets of shrimp rolls.
On Sep 25 last year, Pang wandered around a block of flats in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, worrying about not being able to pay two friends the money he had borrowed from them.
He decided to steal from the flats to repay his debts and chanced upon a second-floor unit that had a number combination padlock securing the gate.
He tried pushing the catch latch mechanism at the bottom of the padlock and was surprised when it unlocked. The resident had forgotten to reset the padlock the night before.
Pang opened the gate and found the main door unlocked. He entered the flat at about 7.40am when all three residents were home.
As he was thirsty, Pang went to the kitchen and removed three cans of Coca-Cola from the fridge. He drank from one of them and tried to open two bedroom doors, which were locked.
As he was about to leave, two of the residents spotted him and confronted him. Pang tried to leave but was unable to as he had inadvertently locked the main gate after entering.
PANG'S LONG LIST OF PAST OFFENCES
The prosecutor called for at least eight years' preventive detention, saying Pang has been convicted of a total of 14 house-breaking and property-related offences since 1993, despite spending a majority of his time since 2002 behind bars.