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Woman caught stealing toilet paper rolls pleads for forgiveness; Netizens debate social media shaming

SINGAPORE — A video recently circulated on social media sparked intense discussion, as it captured a woman being confronted for allegedly stealing toilet paper rolls.

The video, shared by user Jimmyho94 on Sunday (28 May), documents an incident at the Toyota Leng Kee Service Centre where a masked woman is confronted for her actions.

In the video, the person recording repeatedly questions the woman, who is seen carrying a tote bag, asking, “What are you stealing?”

Caught in the act, the woman, who appears to be in her 50s, opens the tote bag, revealing the stolen toilet paper rolls, and admits that she had intended to return them.

However, the person filming expresses frustration, alleging that this is not the first time he has witnessed the woman stealing toilet paper rolls from the service centre.

“How many times already? I have observed you numerous times!” the person voiced his dissatisfaction.

“I will put them back, please give me a chance,” the woman pleads repeatedly, mentioning that she has a mental illness.

The person explains to another man witnessing the confrontation that he had previously decided not to take action out of goodwill, letting her off the hook, but claims that he has seen the woman visiting the centre for this purpose at least five times.

The person then requests the woman to display the stolen items on a seat. Distressed, she pledges, “I will not come here anymore.”

The person recording then asks the woman to reveal her face in the video and threatens to call the police if she refuses.

Continuing to record, the person ensures that the woman leaves the premises. In the final moments of the video, the woman appears ready to depart in her own car.

Local car distributor Inchcape Singapore responded, says video taken by one of their subcontractors

According to Shin Min Daily News, responding to the circulated video, local car distributor Inchcape Singapore stated that its subsidiary Borneo Motors had become aware of the video circulating on TikTok, which was filmed on Saturday (27 May) at its Leng Kee Service Centre.

A spokesperson revealed that the company immediately initiated an internal investigation to identify the source of the video and the individuals involved.

“We have confirmed that the video was not filmed by our employees nor obtained permission from any of our employees. It was taken by one of our subcontractors.”

The spokesperson stated that the company is working with the subcontractor to ensure that their personnel conduct aligns with the company’s professional standards and values.

Furthermore, the spokesperson mentioned that Borneo Motors is committed to fostering an environment of respect and professionalism within the group.

“As a responsible corporation, we do not tolerate any acts of theft or unauthorized removal of company assets from premises. Should such incidents occur, we reserve the right to take legal action.”

Netizens debate the ethics of embarrassing the woman on social media”

While it is acknowledged that having items stolen from one’s own property can be frustrating, several netizens commented on the TikTok video, disagreed with the person’s chosen method and questioned the necessity of embarrassing the woman on social media, including demanding that she reveal her face.

While some TikTokers justified the exposure, arguing that stealing is a wrongdoing and the woman needed to learn a lesson to prevent future incidents, others refuted this viewpoint.

They believed that the person recording overreacted, as the woman had already admitted her fault, suggesting that the person could have called the police to address the issue instead of publicly shaming her.

“Ruining corporate’s image”

One comment criticized the person’s actions, highlighting potential harm to the corporate’s image due to the embarrassment caused to the woman, “Totally ruin corporate’s image. Should not embarrass this lady. She can sue you.”

A comment reminded that what if the woman might suffered mental illness

A comment reminded that the woman might be suffering from a mental illness, urging others not to solely judge her based on what is shown in the video.

In Singapore, there have been reported cases of individuals with kleptomania. According to Singapore Counselling Centre, kleptomania is classified as an impulse control disorder characterized by a persistent and uncontrollable urge to steal items that are often unnecessary or of minimal value.

In 2005 and 2007, Goh Lee Yin, a former engineer, faced legal consequences for shoplifting. After being diagnosed with kleptomania, she was placed on probation.

However, in 2011, Goh faced similar charges once again, leading to a six-week jail sentence. Unfortunately, less than three months after her release, she deceived two women into surrendering four Hermes handbags valued at $97,000.

In 2016, Goh was charged in court for allegedly stealing over $30,000 worth of items in 2015, including clothing from renowned brands such as Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, and Prada. She even stole a Breville oven.

Tragically, Goh passed away in May 2017, a day before her scheduled pre-trial conference for the pending theft case.

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