Jail for man who tied up, molested woman during burglary in 2008 and then fled S'pore

Osmond Chia
The Straits Times
June 14, 2022

To pay off money they owed to loan sharks, two men broke into two homes in 2008 and stole at least $3,700 in luxury items and cash.

During the heist, one of the burglars tied up two siblings who lived in the home and molested the woman while her brother was restrained in a toilet.

The man, Ong Teng Heng, was on the run for 13 years. He was arrested when he returned to Singapore last year.

On Tuesday (June 14), Ong, now 44, was jailed for six years with nine strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to housebreaking, theft and outrage of modesty with criminal force.

His accomplice Eddie Chua, then 26, was jailed in 2008 to four years' jail and six strokes of the cane for housebreaking.

Details of the victims and their residence cannot be mentioned due to a gag order.

The incident happened on March 3, 2008.

Ong had planned to steal from homes to pay off money that he and Chua owed to loan sharks. Chua agreed to join in and they donned gloves, ski masks and dark clothes and entered the first house in the afternoon by climbing the back gate and forcing open a door.

While searching for items to steal, Ong found a large penknife and pocketed it, said deputy public prosecutors Suhas Malhotra and Janice See.

Chua and Ong realised the house was connected by a platform to the second floor of a neighbouring unit and decided to climb over to the next home.

There they found gold chains, watches, cash and other items worth $3,700 in total.

When Chua was alone, he heard a male voice coming from one of the rooms. Spooked, he took the items and climbed out of the window.

As he did so, he fell through the awning and heard someone shout "Oi!", which prompted him to flee.

Ong was still in the home when he saw a man exit a room.

He grabbed his shoulder and warned him not to make a sound, demanding money with penknife in hand.

A struggle ensued. As the man tried to grab the penknife in Ong's hand, the pair stumbled into the room belonging to the man's sister.

Ong pinned the man onto the floor and saw that the man was bleeding.

He instructed the man not to move and told his sister to hand over some tape. She complied as she was scared Ong would hurt her brother.

Ong taped up both victims' hands behind their backs and sat them down on the floor, wrongfully restraining them, said the DPPs.

He searched their rooms and pocketed $250 worth of valuables.

After searching the master bedroom, which had already been ransacked, he took the brother into a toilet just outside the room and taped him to a shower pole, warning him not to shout.

Ong shut the door and turned to the woman, who was too afraid to scream or run in case her brother was hurt.

He then pushed her into the bedroom toilet and groped her.

While doing so, he told her he was poor and needed money and they could have been friends. He asked for her age and if she was still in school.

She told him that he should leave as her neighbours could have heard him break in.

But he guided her to the bed and molested her again.

The DPPs said: "(She) told the accused to stop what he was doing and reminded him that people will find out about this. Her hands remained tied behind her back for the entire duration."

He eventually stopped and left. The woman waited till she could no longer hear any sound in the room before she dressed herself and searched for her brother.

They found that Ong had fled, and the back door and metal gate were opened. They also discovered a hole in the awning at the back of the home.

Ong left Singapore the following day and returned from Thailand on May 25 last year, when he was arrested. Court documents did not say why he returned.

Seeking six years' jail and nine strokes of the cane, the prosecution said Ong's culpability was greater than Chua's as he had conceived the heist.

He also committed highly intrusive acts on the woman in the course of a home invasion.

The DPPs noted that Ong pleaded guilty right away, sparing the victim the ordeal of testifying in court 14 years after the incident.

Those who commit sexual assault can be jailed up to three years, with a fine and caning. The penalty for robbery is between two and 10 years' jail and at least six strokes of the cane.

Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated that Ong Teng Heng was sentenced to six years' jail and 15 strokes of the cane. This has been corrected. 

The Straits Times

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