7 years corrective training for man who drugged senior women to steal their jewellery

Container containing pills
(PHOTO: Getty Image)

SINGAPORE — A man who fed elderly woman drugs in order to steal their belongings was sentenced to seven years of corrective training on Friday (7 August).

Oh Koon Shin, 59, targetted three women in their 70s, two of whom he had approached in Queenstown Polyclinic and convinced to take Zopiclone, a drug used to treat insomnia. It causes sleepiness and leaves a bitter taste with dryness in the mouth.

He approached the last woman at her residence and convinced her that his drug could treat her leg pain.

Oh had earlier admitted to three counts each of theft and causing hurt by poison. Another five charges, including theft, were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Corrective training is usually imposed on repeat offenders and involves a period of incarceration of between five and 14 years. Such detainees are not typically given early release for good behaviour.

Oh is a habitual offender with 11 convictions dating back to 1977. In 2013, he was jailed for two years for an offence with a similar modus operandi to his current offences.

Then, he stole from two women over two days at Jurong Polyclinic in December 2012. He drugged one of the women, a 62-year-old retiree, before pocketing her belongings.

Current offences

On 6 September last year, a 73-year-old woman, who worked as a bus attendant, visited Queenstown Polyclinic for a medical check-up. As she waited for her prescription, she spoke to her friends there about her neck pain. Oh, who was at the polyclinic despite not having any appointments, overheard the conversation and approached the victim. He was eyeing the jade pendant on the victim’s neck.

Oh then offered the woman Zopiclone, convincing her that it would ease her pain. The woman took the medication and became light-headed. Oh brought the woman out of the clinic and stole her valuables, including the pendant, two gold rings, several cards, and a bunch of keys. As the woman felt drowsy, Oh asked a passer-by to help call an ambulance. The woman was then conveyed to hospital, where she noticed that her valuables were missing.

The next day, the woman’s granddaughter reported seeing Oh outside her residence with a bunch of keys, but he was unable to find a key that matched the door’s lock. A police report was lodged on 8 September.

Victim thought Oh was polyclinic staff

Three days after the first offence, Oh targetted a 71-year-old woman, who worked as a hawker. The woman went to Queenstown Polyclinic for a medical checkup on 9 September last year and waited for the clinic to open. Oh, who was also waiting at the polyclinic, spied a stack of cash in the woman’s handbag and decided to steal from her.

Oh followed her into the polyclinic and approached her as she awaited her turn to see the doctor. He then took her money, which amounted to $2,000, when she was not looking. In order to distract the woman, Oh offered her Zopiclone. He convinced her that she should take the drug before her checkup.

Believing that Oh was a polyclinic staff member, the woman consumed the medication and became drowsy. He then stole a gold-coloured bracelet from the woman and brought her out of the polyclinic. He sent the woman to National University Hospital in a taxi after observing that she was losing consciousness.

The victim’s son lodged a police report the next day. The woman’s cash and the bracelet were later recovered from Oh.

Fed victim Zopiclone at her house

On 6 July last year, Oh approached a 72-year-old retiree and obtained her address after claiming he had medication for her leg pain. He visited her house on 9 July when the woman was alone and fed her Zopiclone.

The woman became dizzy and tired after eating the medication. She fell asleep on the sofa in the living room while Oh ransacked the drawers in the house and stole several items. The victim woke up hours later.

When the victim’s daughter returned home, she discovered that $1,000 in cash, along with money in other currencies and some jewellery, were missing, and called the police.

For causing hurt through poison, Oh could have been jailed up to 10 years, and fined or caned. For theft he could have been jailed up to three years, or fined, or both. For theft in a house, Oh could have been jailed up to seven years, and fined.

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