SINGAPORE — While dressed as a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officer, a full-time national serviceman (NSF) rented camera equipment on two occasions and later sold the items.
In fact, Muhammad Nadhir Kadir Maideen was an national service deserter at the time he committed the offences.
The 19-year-old was sentenced to one year of reformative training on Thursday (23 April) on 10 proceeded charges, including cheating, deserting the SCDF, and criminal breach of trust. Another 18 charges of a similar nature were taken into consideration for sentencing.
Nadhir was supposed to report for duty at the SCDF HQ from 18 April 2018 until further notice. However, he failed to turn up from 26 December 2018 to 30 January last year and continued to be absent with an intention to remain permanently absent. He was arrested on 31 January.
While absent from NS, Nadhir used his SCDF uniform to cheat two different victims of their cameras and equipment.
Used uniform in crimes
In January last year, Nadhir contacted a 29-year-old film producer via online marketplace Carousell to rent a DSLR camera. At about 3pm on 21 January, he met the film producer while dressed in his SCDF uniform.
He had lied about needing the camera for an SCDF event and had forgotten to bring his wallet with him.
Nadhir then showed the film producer a photograph of his 11B identification card on his handphone and claimed that his supervisor would pay him via bank transfer.
Trusting Nadhir, the film producer rented him a camera and its accessories, worth $5,350, at a rate of $50 a day. Nadhir was supposed to return the items on 22 January.
However, Nadhir sold all the items for $550 to the Black Market Camera shop at Peninsula Shopping Centre. The film producer later lodged a police report after Nadhir failed to return the rented items.
The items were sold off by Black Market Camera, and none were recovered or returned.
Nadhir cheated another party a mere three days later.
On 24 January last year, he contacted a shop named Little Tot Wonder via the Carousell marketplace app to rent a digital camera and its accessories. The items were worth $949 in total.
He turned up at Little Tot Wonder in his SCDF uniform and paid a fee of $50, including a refundable deposit of $30. He claimed that he needed the camera urgently for an SCDF event.
The next day, Little Tot Wonder’s customer service staff contacted Nadhir to remind him to return the camera. Nadhir lied that he was already on his way, but failed to show up. He then became uncontactable and blocked Little Tot Wonder on his WhatsApp messaging app.
Little Tot Wonder then lodged an electronic police report on 29 January.
Meanwhile, Nadhir sold the camera and its accessories for $100 at Treasurelux Traders, a camera shop at Peninsula Plaza. Only the lens kit was recovered after police raided the shop with Nadhir in tow. Treasurelux Traders had sold the rest of the rented items before the raid.
Nadhir also cheated others, including a teenage girl he met through the Tagged friend-finder app. On their first meeting, he asked to borrow her mobile phone but later stole it and sold it for $1,000.
Nadhir was arrested and produced in court on 1 February. He was bailed out on 4 June and meant to report for duty at the SCDF HQ from 6 June 2019. He again disappeared from 24 June to 25 September 2019.
Meanwhile, Nadhir returned to his cheating ways. He cheated an unemployed 20-year-old woman into signing up for three handphone lines at telcos M1, StarHub and SingTel. He claimed he would pay for the incurred bills. However his aim was to simply get his hands on the three handphones that came with the lines.
Nadhir was arrested on 26 September.
A probation officer found that Nadhir’s offences had been motivated by greed for easy monetary gains, lack of self-control and poor consequential thinking. He had resorted to crime to get money quickly so he could visit nightclubs with friends at least three times a week.
“He reported that since the victims whom he met on dating applications were willing to meet up for casual sex, it was all right for him to cheat them by using their identification cards to get mobile phones via phone plans and selling the phones for money,” another specialist noted.
In sentencing Nadhir on Thursday, District Judge Marvin Bay said it was “severely aggravating that he had perpetrated his crimes under colour of duty as an SCDF officer, while he was a deserter from the force”.
Nadhir also had a “troubling lack of empathy for his victims and exploited them without remorse”, the DJ noted.
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