Foiled by thunder, bumbling Malaysian robber jailed, caned

Foiled by thunder, bumbling Malaysian robber jailed, caned
Photo: Reuters

Foiled by thunder, bumbling Malaysian robber jailed, caned

SINGAPORE — A bumbling robber who tried to swipe a Rolex watch from a woman was startled by thunder and fled the scene, leaving his slippers behind.

For attempted robbery, Patrick Sim Lung Ann, 36, was yesterday sentenced to 30 months’ jail and six strokes of the cane.

Sim, a Malaysian, had started hatching a plan to rob someone as early as December last year.

He was working as a fruit stall assistant then, and fashioned a knife from parts of a bamboo fruit crate.

He sharpened the bamboo and sprayed it with red paint.

He lost his job the following month, and on Feb 8, he decided to carry out his plan.

Loitering around Hillview Road, he spotted the 59-year-old victim at around 5.30pm.

She was walking alone near a bus stop outside Glendale Park Condominium, and he caught sight of her watch which, the court heard, was valued at S$3,200. When he got to the woman, he took out the 6cm-long bamboo knife, and pointed it towards her neck, saying in Mandarin: “This is a robbery. Give me your watch.”

The victim was so frightened that her legs went weak and she had to squat. Her thumb brushed against the knife as she did so, and she suffered a minor cut.

However, a loud clap of thunder startled Sim. He ditched his plan to rob the woman and made a run for it, leaving his slippers behind and escaping barefoot. He later told investigators that the ground was wet, and his choice of footwear was too slippery.

A security supervisor at the condominium called the police on behalf of the victim and reported the crime.

Investigations showed that Sim fled to Malaysia through the Woodlands Checkpoint at around 7pm the same day, and a police gazette was issued for his arrest.

On April 22, Sim re-entered Singapore through the same checkpoint and was arrested by the police.

He was unrepresented in court yesterday and pleaded for leniency, claiming that his children are still young and he needed to support his family.

Sim could have been jailed up to seven years for attempted robbery, which also carries a penalty of a minimum of six strokes of the cane.