S'pore man, 52, steals phone & laptop from dead man, 22, gets 4 months & 4 weeks jail

It is a crime to take a dead person's belongings.

Belmont Lay | February 07, 2024, 08:14 PM



A 52-year-old man was sentenced to four months and four weeks' jail on Feb. 7, 2024, for taking the belongings of a man who was found dead at the foot of a block of flats in Singapore.

The exact location of the incident was not revealed in court documents, CNA reported.

The deceased man had allegedly committed suicide.

The actions of the accused, Ng Hoe Ghee, caused the police to lose evidence while investigating the man's death.

This was after Ng discarded the deceased man's handwritten note and reset the handphones he found to their factory settings.

He pleaded guilty to one charge each of dishonest misappropriation of property and dishonest misappropriation of a deceased person's property, with other charges taken into consideration.

What happened

The deceased man was found dead with multiple injuries on Aug. 12, 2023.

At about 1:20pm, Ng saw the deceased and he subsequently picked up some cardboard nearby and used it to cover the body.

He picked up the dead man's wallet that had fallen nearby.

Ng then handed it to the police, told them what he witnessed and went up to the 15th floor of the block and continued up the stairs.

He was curious about what floor the man had jumped after having visited his family.

Ng found the dead man's haversack with his personal belongings inside, hid it in a box and stacked it with another box.

The loot was then brought to the outside of his father's flat.

The next day, Ng retrieved a laptop, two password-protected handphones, notebooks and other items in the bag.

A note written by the deceased said he "felt that he was haunted by something or someone" and that he was "feeling pain and was struggling with his belief and faith".

The note and other items were thrown away, while the electronic items were pocketed.

Ng paid a person S$70 to unlock the phones.

A factory reset of both phones was carried out, and they were unlocked.

How Ng was located

Ng then used one of the phones after throwing away the SIM cards.

He proceeded to carry the items he took in the haversack when he went out.

A police gazette was issued against Ng to locate his whereabouts after they failed to find the deceased man's belongings at the block following multiple searches.

On Sep. 7, police officers approached Ng in Jurong East for a routine check and noticed a police gazette had been issued against him.

Ng was asked about the phone he was using and he lied that he had borrowed it.

The items were subsequently recovered.

Ng's actions caused the police to be unable to get information from these items to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death.

Ng also admitted to taking a stranger's phone that had dropped on the floor in another separate incident.

He apologised for his actions and said he was financially strapped.

He added that "this kind of thing" should not be released or known after he saw that the dead man was struggling.

Ng could have been jailed for up to three years and fined for dishonest misappropriation from a dead person.

Top photo via Unsplash