S'pore man, 72, gets 18 years' jail after shooting & robbing woman in 1981

He was on the run in Thailand for 32 years until 2013.

Belmont Lay | Hannah Martens | November 15, 2022, 09:25 PM

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A Singapore man, Chin Sheong Hon, 72, was sentenced to 18 years' jail on Nov. 15, 2022 for crimes he committed 41 years ago in 1981, The Straits Times and CNA reported.

He had been on the run in Thailand for 32 years prior to his arrest in 2013.

Chin shot a woman in front of the Thomson branch of the United Overseas Bank in Lorong Mega in November 1981.

It was one of a few robberies he committed in Singapore that year.

Chin was in custody for more than nine years after his initial arrest, ST and CNA reported.

However, after being sentenced, he would only have to spend another two-and-a-half years in jail as he is eligible for one-third remission and his jail term is backdated.

Chin pleaded guilty to one charge of causing hurt with a deadly weapon, while committing robbery and one charge of armed robbery.

Another charge of armed robbery was taken into consideration.

How he was caught

Chin was extradited to Singapore in 2013, ST and CNA reported.

He had been jailed in Thailand for taking part in political protests there.

He was released and sent back to Singapore.

Chin was arrested in Singapore on June 6, 2013

He was charged with committing three robberies between July and November 1981 with a revolver.

He was held in a psychiatric ward after being found to be of unsound mind and unfit to stand trial.

Chin was diagnosed with delusional disorder in 2015.

In July 2021, he was certified fit to plead to his original charges.

These were revealed in the High Court by deputy public prosecutors Kathy Chu and Timotheus Koh on Tuesday, according to ST.

Chin had made off with a total of about S$110,000 in ill gotten gains, CNA reported.

What he did

In July 1981, Chin admitted to robbing a man, Ee Chong Leong, of about S$16,000 at the former Singapore Shuttle Bus Terminal in Lorong 1 Geylang.

He had pressed his gun to the victim’s waist and warned him not to raise any alarm.

In October 1987, Chin accosted Chua Boon Leong with a revolver and robbed him of about S$1,800 in front of the Overseas Union Bank in Tanjong Katong Road.

In November 1987, he shot a woman, Goh Siew Foon, while robbing her of S$92,000 in front of the Thomson branch of the United Overseas Bank, in Lorong Mega.

The gunshot ruptured Goh's stomach and caused lacerations to her lungs, but the woman survived.

What happened in court

The DPPs sought life imprisonment, as Chin was assessed by the Institute of Mental Health to be at risk of committing similar offences in future, ST reported.

Life imprisonment was previously pegged at 20 years’ jail, with the possibility of remission, as this was how the law stood at that time the crime was committed.

It was only in 1997 that the Court of Appeal ruled that life imprisonment was for the duration of the prisoner’s natural life, ST further reported.

According to ST, Justice Pang Khang Chau said he was required to pass sentence in accordance with the law as it stood then in 1981, and not after it was amended.

Chin's appointed defence lawyer sought a jail term of 13 years and seven months, arguing that the risk of Chin reoffending is low due to his old age and poor health.

The judge eventually ruled that there may be a need for Chin to be detained in some institutional arrangement for the protection of the public, and that the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act can be invoked for this purpose, ST added.

Under the Act, people with mental health conditions who may pose a danger to others can be held in a designated psychiatric institution.

Top photos via Singapore Police Force & Google Maps