Singapore jails middle-aged repeat thief who stole dozens of boxes of Panadol

A repeat thief who was released on remission in Singapore for a previous offence of stealing Panadol went back to stealing the painkiller again – this time clearing out a supermarket shelf of all its supply.

Sng Cheow Sim, 51, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft, with a third charge taken into consideration.

However, he refused to reveal what he did with all that Panadol – at least 66 boxes’ worth, and made no restitution.

Sng refused to reveal in court what he had done with all the medication he stole. Photo: Shutterstock

The court heard that Sng was sentenced last year to 19 months in jail for stealing about S$250 (US$187) worth of Panadol.

In August, while still on remission for the previous offences, Sng began stealing again.

He went to a supermarket in the Ang Mo Kio Hub shopping centre and stole 30 boxes of Panadol worth S$330 in total, concealing them in a tote bag. A security guard saw Sng place the boxes in his bag and gave chase when Sng left without paying, but lost sight of him.

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The guard lodged a police report that same day. Sng’s acts were caught by closed-circuit television cameras.

On August 21, Sng returned to the same supermarket. He placed 36 boxes of Panadol tablets – including Panadol Extra, Panadol Sinus Max and Panadol Cold Relief – into his tote bag and left without paying.

A store executive later lodged a police report after a security officer told him that the shelf displaying Panadol products had been cleaned out.

Sng was identified by the police and arrested two days later. The stolen items were not recovered as Sng refused to say what he had done with them.

I [have been] in prison for quite a couple of times already … I do some reflection inside. No point la, no point

Sng Cheow Sim, Panadol thief

On Monday, the prosecutor sought at least two years’ imprisonment for Sng.

State Prosecuting Officer Lim Yeow Leong said Sng has a string of property-related offences between 1990 and 2022 and is a “recalcitrant and persistent offender”.

His last conviction also involved the theft of Panadol but the jail term had not deterred him, Lim said, adding that time, the total value of the stolen items including the charge taken into consideration was about S$970.

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Sng had no lawyer and gave his mitigation from his place of remand.

He said he would like the judge to sentence him “more leniently” because his mother had breast cancer.

“I [have been] in prison for quite a couple of times already,” Sng said. “I do some reflection inside. No point la, no point.”

He said he hopes to become a better person when he comes out.

The judge told Sng that he sincerely wished the defendant “all the best” with this.

“Don’t come back, OK,” the judge told Sng, adding that if he did, he would get worse penalties.

Sng was sentenced on Monday to two years’ jail and an additional 47 days for offending while on remission.

This article was first published by CNA

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