Jail, caning for man who took part in robbery involving $365,000

SINGAPORE – A man who took part in a $365,000 heist involving a bogus bitcoin deal was sentenced on Friday (Sept 11) to three years and four months’ jail with 12 strokes of the cane.

Singaporean Syed Mokhtar Syed Yusope, 39, is the third of four individuals linked to the offence to be dealt with in court this week. He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of robbery.

The court heard that he had worked together with Singaporeans Jaromel Gee Ming Li, 29, and Mohd Abdul Rahman Mohamad, 39, to rob their Malaysian victim.

Gee was sentenced on Thursday to three years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to a robbery charge.

Abdul Rahman’s case is still pending.

But his former wife, Yogeshwry Raman, has been dealt with. She was sentenced to nine weeks’ jail on Thursday after pleading guilty to one count of dishonestly receiving stolen property and using criminal force on a public servant.

The court heard that some of the money from the robbery was exchanged for other items, such as a Rolex watch worth $45,800.

Besides the watch and other items, Yogeshwry also received $5,000 in cash.

The 35-year-old also admitted in court that she had spat at a police officer in an unrelated incident in 2017.

Prosecutors said that Gee and Abdul Rahman hatched a plan in April 2018 to rob prospective buyers without transferring or selling any bitcoins to them.

According to court documents, the three men then conspired to rob their Malaysian victim of $365,000 by first duping him into believing that they had bitcoins to sell.

On April 8, 2018, Malaysian Pang Joon Hau arrived at a Hotel 81 branch in Middle Road, as he wanted to buy bitcoins from sellers in Singapore. He had $365,000 in his possession.

It was not stated in court documents if he had brought in the cash from Malaysia.

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.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Chin Jincheng, Chong Yong and Audrey Choo had earlier said: “Abdul Rahman contacted Mokhtar and told him of the plan… Mokhtar’s role was to accompany Abdul Rahman to commit robbery… and drive both of them away in Mokhtar’s car after the robbery.

“Mokhtar agreed to meet up with Abdul Rahman at Hotel 81 to execute the plan.”

The court heard that Abdul Rahman and Mokhtar went to the hotel at around 11pm.

The prosecutors said that the pair and a bitcoin broker, Mr Lee Chee Kwok, went to Mr Pang’s room, and Mokhtar asked the Malaysian where the money was.

The prosecutors told the court: “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.”

Mr Pang Joon Hau had come to Singapore to purchase bitcoins and contacted a Singaporean broker to buy the digital currency but was robbed of $365,000 in cash instead. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Abdul Rahman then grabbed a backpack containing the $365,000 before leaving the room with Mokhtar, the court heard.

The police were alerted at around 11.40pm that same day.

The DPPs said that Mokhtar received $10,000 as a reward, but he was arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint the next day.

On Friday, he was released on bail of $30,000 and will surrender himself at the State Courts on Oct 29 to begin serving his sentence.

Offenders convicted of committing robbery between 7pm and 7am can be jailed for up to 14 years and receive at least 12 strokes of the cane.

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