Man admits to threatening prostitute with knife to extort cash

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
Yap Ching Ming, 34, pleaded guilty to one charge each of putting a person in fear of harm to commit extortion, theft and drug consumption. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

Facing financial difficulties, a man hatched a plan to rob prostitutes as he thought they would be reluctant to report the matter to the police, a court heard.

Yap Ching Ming contacted a prostitute who had advertised her sexual services on the Internet, and then threatened her with a fruit knife.

The 34-year-old Malaysian rummaged for money and made off with two mobile phones, but was arrested the next day.

At the State Courts on Monday (18 February), Yap was convicted of one charge each of putting a person in fear of harm to commit extortion, theft and drug consumption.

Yap is expected to be sentenced on 5 March.

Put knife to victim’s neck

On 23 November last year, Yap made an appointment with a 39-year-old prostitute from China.

He met the victim at an HDB block in Corporation Drive in Jurong, bringing along a fruit knife and masking tape.

Inside the prostitute’s bedroom, Yap and the victim took off their clothes. Yap then pretended to take out $100 to pay her, before brandishing the knife and pointing it at the victim.

Yap grabbed the prostitute by the neck while also holding the knife to it. He tried to tape her mouth with masking tape, but was unsuccessful.

During the ensuing struggle, the victim got cut by the knife. She broke free from Yap and sought help from her room-mates. They retreated into another bedroom and locked themselves inside.

The victim called the police hotline saying, “Someone is robbing us. He is taking a knife.”

Yap searched for money in the victim’s bedroom but could only make off with two mobile phones worth $300 in total. He was arrested at his home the next day.

His urine samples were found to contain methamphetamine. Yap admitted that he had consumed the drug, commonly known as Ice, the previous day. It is not known if he had consumed the drug before or after he visited the prostitute.

The punishment for putting any person in fear of harm in order to commit extortion is between two and five years’ jail, with caning.

For theft, Yap could be jailed up to three years along with a fine. The maximum penalty for consuming methamphetamine is up to 10 years’ jail and a fine of up to $20,000.

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