Man fed 3 elderly women insomnia drug to steal from them

Wan Ting Koh
·Reporter
·4-min read
The hand pulls out, puts the wallet out of the bag. On white background
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — In an attempt to steal three elderly women’s valuables, a man fed them a sleep-inducing drug after claiming it would cure their pains.

Oh Koon Shin, 59, pleaded guilty on Monday (13 July) to three counts each of theft – one of which was committed in a house – and of causing hurt by poison by using the drug Zopiclone on the women. Zopiclone is used for short-term treatment of insomnia, which may cause sleepiness and leave a bitter taste with dryness in the mouth.

Of the victims, who are in their 70s, two were targetted by Oh in Queenstown Polyclinic. Oh had approached them after spying their valuables and offered them Zopiclone.

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 unable to find a key that matched the door’s lock. A police report was lodged on 8 September.

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 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 of $2,000 and the bracelet were later recovered from Oh.

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 a total of $1,000, cash of other currencies, and jewellery were missing and called the police.

Oh is expected to be sentenced on 7 August.

For causing hurt through poison, Oh may be jailed up to 10 years, and fined or caned. For theft he faces up to three years’ jail, or a fine, or both. For theft in a house, Oh may be jailed up to seven years, and may also be fined.

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