On Wednesday (21 August), a mother-daughter duo – who went on a shoplifting spree in 2017 – were sentenced to 10 days’ jail for their crime.
Fong Leok Moy, 68, and her daughter Wong Phuay Yee, 41, stole items like Havaianas slippers, Victoria’s Secret underwear and Cotton On garments from Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City and Mandarin.
Both of them pleaded guilty to three counts of theft, with another seven taken into consideration.
It is said in the court that the two women were jobless when they committed the crime.
State Prosecuting Officer M Mariyappan said that the duo left their house on 22 October 2017 at about 3pm with the intention to go to Orchard Road for a shopping spree. But, since they didn’t have any money with them, they took the drastic step to steal things instead.
Unfortunately, their actions were short-lived as a sales assistant at the FitFlop store in Wisma Atria recognised them as they entered his shop a week earlier (15 October) and made off with two pairs of footwear valuing nearly S$300.
As such, the man decided to follow the pair and gave the cops a call at about 5.10pm. When the police checked the women, they found many items and the duo admitted in stealing them from different shops in the Orchard Road area.
Some of the items they stole include two pairs of Havaianas slippers worth S$109.80, three pairs of Cotton On shorts amounting to S$89.98, as well as 24 pieces of Victoria’s Secret seamless panties and a sports bra worth S$491 in total.
Besides that, they also took a S$35.20 L’occitane soap bar, two fruit peelers worth S$26, and S$40 scented candles from Bath & Body Works.
The prosecution noted that all the stolen goods were returned to the respective shops and requested for two weeks’ jail for each women. This is because the pair had previously been convicted of theft in May 2016 and “clearly did not learn” from it.
Request for mercy by defence lawyer
Defence lawyer TM Sinnadurai requested the judge to temper justice with mercy, noting that his clients committed the crime only on two separate occasions and had pleaded guilty soonest possible.
He pleaded for his clients to each be sentenced to two days’ jail and a fine of $6,000.
If that’s not all, the lawyer also stated that a medical report indicates that the mother suffers from depression and had endured some difficulty in her family life.
As for the daughter, she is the sole breadwinner in the family as both her parents are not working, he added.
However, District Judge Eddy Tham mentioned that the pair failed to realise the seriousness of their actions after previously receiving day reporting orders for theft.
“Unfortunately they did not cherish that (chance) and have gone on to commit not one but 10 different offences,” the judge said.
For each count of theft, they could have been jailed for seven years, fined or both.
Upon reading this news, many netizens slammed the pair, especially the mother for setting a bad example to her daughter. Writing on CNA’s Facebook page, they also added that not having money or depression are not reasons for anyone to steal. Kimberley Zachary said that it’s not right to “equate mental health to crime spree” as “having depression does not make one indulge in immoral activities”.
Others called for a harsher sentence as 10 days jail term is not sufficient for them. This is because it’s obvious the duo are not remorseful for their previous actions as they repeated the crime again.