Man broke into flat to steal underwear, hid in bedroom when 2 residents returned

Wan Ting Koh
·3-min read
A closet filled with clothes.
A closet filled with clothes. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — While stealing underwear from a flat he had broken into, a man was forced to hide in a room when two residents from the unit returned.

So Chik Hwee, 39, remained there for some time until he made his way out the front door.

So was sentenced to a jail term of seven months and one week on Wednesday (20 January) after he pleaded guilty to one count of committing housebreaking by day to commit theft of a woman’s underwear, one count of theft and one count of theft in dwelling.

Another three charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

These include a charge of possessing 60 bras and 44 panties in his residence, trespass, and for stealing another pair of panties from another unit.

So has fetishistic disorder, which is a form of paraphilic disorder, meaning that he has a longstanding recurrent and intense sexual arousal from the use of female underwear, specifically panties. However, he was fully aware of his wrongdoing and was not of unsound mind then, according to a medical report issued on 18 July 2019 by the Institute of Mental Health.

On 30 April 2019, the Malaysian was along the corridor of a flat in the Tanjong Pagar area when he noticed that there were some bra and panties hanging outside a unit.

He felt an urge to take the bra and panties and observed the unit for about 10 minutes. When he did not spy any activity from within, he went nearer and saw that there was no one present.

He then slid open the glass window next to the main door and inserted his hand through the window to open the main door to enter the unit. He wanted to steal any underwear he could find in the flat.

Upon gaining entry, So searched through the laundry in the kitchen area and pocketed a pair of panties he found. He then entered the female owner’s bedroom and searched through her drawers, packing all the bras and panties he could find into a plastic bag lying on a table.

Before he could leave the flat with his loot, a domestic helper and the homeowner’s child returned.

So closed the door to the bedroom and waited until the coast was clear before making his escape through the front door.

On 25 June 2019, in an attempt to steal more underwear, So took the lift to the highest floor of the same block and made his way down the staircase.

When he arrived on the fifth floor, he saw two women leaving their unit. He walked past the unit and noticed that its door and gate was unlocked.

He then knocked on the door to ascertain that no one was home before entering the unit. He stole 26 bras, 11 panties, a stocking, and two nightgown blouses, with a total value of $1,590.

Last October, So struck again after he saw underwear being hung out to dry on the sixth floor of a block in Canberra. He went there to steal three bras and eight panties worth $40.

So’s lawyer Wee Hong Shern said that his client was “thoroughly remorseful” and wished to turn over a new leaf and seek treatment following his sentence. The lawyer noted that the housebreaking was poorly executed.

For house-breaking in order to commit theft, So could have been jailed up to 10 years. For theft, he could have been jailed up to three years, or fined, or both. Theft in dwelling carries a jail term of up to seven years and a fine.

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