Jail for man and brother who helped girlfriend to steal from her family

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
An open safe on a desk.
An open safe on a desk. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A man who helped his girlfriend steal a safe and piggy bank from her family members and his twin brother who was also involved were jailed on Wednesday (19 May). 

The girlfriend, Tiffany Tan Hwee Shuan, who masterminded the incident and came up with the idea to make the incident seem like an outsider was involved, was ordered to undergo an assessment for a probation suitability report. 

The brothers, Oh Jia Kai and Oh Jia Cheng, both 25, were sentenced to 15 weeks' and nine weeks' jail respectively. All three had pleaded guilty to one count of theft with common intention on an earlier occasion. 

At the time of the offence, Tan was dating Jia Kai. She asked him to keep her mother busy while she and Jia Cheng moved the family's valuables, including her father’s envelope full of cash, a safe, and piggy banks from the flat.

Tan planned to steal the safe from her elder brother when the rest of her family members were not at home. She rented two cars for her scheme.

While the prosecution initially sought a six-month jail term for Tan, it revised its submissions on account of Tan's age. Tan was 21 at the time of the offences and hence eligible for community-based sentences. It did not reject to the calling for a probation suitability report for Tan. Probation is usually offered to offenders between the ages of 16 and 21.

Tan's lawyer Kelvin Tan said that Tan had a supportive family who have since forgiven her for the offence. Both Tan's mother and brother penned letters to the court asking for leniency. 

Her brother said that Tan had shown remorse and was "repenting her actions". The family did not wish to take things further and was working to resolve issues. Tan's mother described her daughter as her "best friend" and reiterated that the family had forgiven her. 

The twin brothers' lawyer, Sng Kheng Huat, sought short detention orders of seven days for Jia Cheng and 10 days for Jia Kai. He objected to the prosecution's application for a three-month jail term for Jia Cheng and five months for Jia Kai, stating that Tan was the "prime mover". He also asked why community-based sentences could not be called for the brothers, who were youthful as well at the time of the offence.

Sng said Jia Kai committed the offence out of "misguided love" for Tan, while his twin brother had just wanted to assist him. 

Tan will return to court on 29 June for her sentencing. 

Tan and Jia Kai distracted mother

On 11 July last year, Tan brought her mother out for supper in order to carry out her theft. She boarded the BMW with her mother and Jia Kai, but lied that she had left her mobile phone in the flat so that she had to retrieve it. Jia Kai waited in the car with Tan’s mother to ensure that the woman would not move from the car.

Meanwhile, Jia Cheng waited at the lobby for Tan to hand him all the stolen goods. They loaded the stolen items into one car. 

She dragged the stolen goods to Jia Cheng at the lift lobby and placed the envelope with the cash in the Suzuki Swift.

A while later, she returned to the BMW where her mother was waiting while Jia Cheng loaded the rest of the items into the Suzuki Swift.

The next day, Tan’s brother returned home to see his safe, containing a Rolex watch and cash, and his piggy banks missing. He called the police. Tan’s father also found $34,000 in cash missing. To conceal her role, Tan lied that $3,000 was missing from her bag in her room. 

Tan, Jia Cheng and Jia Kai were eventually arrested. 

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