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The Straits Times
September 4, 2023
A 35-year-old man linked to a series of burglary cases at four landed properties on Polling Day last Friday was charged in court on Monday, two days after he was caught trying to leave the country.
Chinese national Wei Qingyou, who was handed two housebreaking charges, will be back in court next Monday. The offence carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years’ jail per charge.
About $1,500 in cash was allegedly stolen from one of the houses in Pasir Ris. There were no reported losses from the other three houses in the area.
The police said they nabbed a suspect at the departure area of Changi Airport Terminal 4 within 19 hours of the first police report being made.
They were alerted to the first case of housebreaking at about 9pm last Friday, and received two other reports linked to the suspect at 11.10pm last Friday and at 2.20pm last Saturday. The fourth case was not reported.
The suspect was allegedly seen trying to escape from a house in Pasir Ris Road at around 9pm last Friday. He was seen dressed in all black, with a mask, cap, long-sleeved hoodie and trousers.
The police said four members of the public tried to catch him, but he managed to climb out of a window.
They managed to retrieve a black haversack which contained cash, foreign currencies, valuables, clothing, and equipment he used for housebreaking such as a bolt cutter, a hacksaw and screwdrivers.
A shirt and a mask recovered from the same haversack have been sent to the Health Sciences Authority for forensic DNA examination.
The four people – two foreign domestic workers, Ms Abaya Rizzalyn Estrella, 27, and Ms Chita Guzman Abaya, 56, and two men, Mr Gan Kok Beng, 69, and Mr Goh Kim Hock, 70 – who helped stop the suspect were given a Public Spiritedness Award.
Mr Gan told reporters on Monday that he was at a friend’s house with Mr Goh last Friday when Ms Chita informed them that there was a stranger on the second floor.
“Mr Goh rushed upstairs first, and I followed closely behind. The owner of the house was in the toilet at the time,” he said.
“I saw Mr Goh (and Ms Abaya Rizzalyn) pulling the burglar’s haversack as he was trying to escape from the window, so I went to help.
“I thought, ‘Wow this guy is quite strong’. After a while, we were able to get the bag off him. We were hoping to catch him or get some evidence for the police.”
The suspect broke into 4 landed properties in Pasir Ris on Polling Day and stole $1,500 from one of the houses. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Mr Gan said the suspect tried to hit Mr Goh with a sharp object, so Mr Gan pulled the window curtain to create a barrier between them.
Through ground inquiries and the aid of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, officers from Bedok Police Division were able to identify the suspect and arrest him.
They were supported by officers from the Police Operations Command Centre, the Police Intelligence Department, Special Operations Command, the Gurkha Contingent, Airport Police Division and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.
The police seized more than $1,600 in local currency and a further $1,900 in various foreign currencies from the man.
The police seized more than $1,600 in local currency and a further $1,900 in various foreign currencies from the man. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Commander of Bedok Police Division Justin Wong said the suspect had allegedly committed the crimes shortly after coming to Singapore.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Wong said: “The suspect showed a blatant disregard for the law by committing housebreaking and theft while in Singapore.
“I would like to commend the bravery of the migrant domestic workers and members of the public who confronted the suspect. This case exemplifies how the police work hand in hand with the community to keep Singapore safe and secure.”
Mr Goh Kim Hock (left) and Mr Gan Kok Beng helped stop the suspect. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
(From left) Commander of Bedok Police Division Justin Wong, Ms Chita Guzman Abaya, Ms Abaya Rizzalyn Estrella and Superintendent of Police Edwin Yong. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
The police urged members of the public to adopt measures such as installing a burglar alarm, motion sensor lights or CCTVs in their homes to protect themselves against housebreaking and theft.
They said: “Secure all doors, roller shutters and windows with quality grilles and close-shackled padlocks before leaving the premises unattended, even for a short while. Refrain from keeping large sums of cash and valuables in the premises.
“If you’re going overseas, let your neighbours know that you are going to be away, the duration of your absence and how you can be contacted if need be.”
• Additional reporting by Shaffiq Alkhatib