Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Kopitiam manager jailed for staging armed robbery to cover up money he stole from office safe

SINGAPORE — A manager of Kopitiam food court, who cooked up an armed robbery at its Rivervale Plaza outlet last year, was sentenced to 25 weeks' jail on Thursday (March 12).

Kopitiam manager jailed for staging armed robbery to cover up money he stole from office safe

Lee Kah Yeow convinced a friend's acquaintance to “rob” a Kopitiam outlet of S$6,000, in order to cover up the S$26,043 that he had pocketed from the safe deposit box.

SINGAPORE — A manager of Kopitiam food court, who cooked up an armed robbery at its Rivervale Plaza outlet last year, was sentenced to 25 weeks' jail on Thursday (March 12).

Lee Kah Yeow convinced a friend's acquaintance to “rob” the outlet of S$6,000, in order to cover up the S$26,043 that he had pocketed from the safe deposit box.

On Thursday, the 49-year-old pleaded guilty to a single charge of criminal breach of trust.

The court heard that Lee had been employed by the food-court chain for about 18 years and had worked for two years at the Rivervale Plaza outlet in Sengkang. 

As part of his job, he would check the previous day’s sales, count the cash in the safe in the outlet’s management office and fill in a document showing the day’s sales.

Besides another staff member, he was the only one with the keys to the safe.

Sometime before the staged robbery on March 3 last year, he had misappropriated S$26,043 from the safe in order to pay off his gambling debts. 

He allegedly owed three banks about S$40,000 in total while earning close to S$3,000 every month.

Kopitiam did not know about this until after the staged incident. He has since made full restitution.

The chain’s head of internal audit said that Lee’s records of the money in the safe were last audited in September 2018 — in line with its half-yearly audit frequency.

Lee decided to fake the robbery to explain away the money he had taken. After coming up with his plan, he met his friend Hoi Hoy Leong and Mr Hoi’s acquaintance, Tan Lye Meng.

Lee offered the "job" to Mr Hoi, who rejected it, so Lee asked Tan to consider it.

Lee told Tan that he should go to the outlet’s management office on a Sunday because the takings tended to be larger on the weekends.

He also told Tan to take a knife with him and “action only for the camera to see”. There were closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the management office.

Finally, in order to make the scene more convincing, Tan must order Lee to stick his head in the safe before fleeing the scene. In return, Tan could keep the entire sum “stolen” from the safe. 

Tan agreed to this and Lee told him to stage the robbery on March 3 last year.

On the day, while Lee was at his desk in the management office, Tan went in, pulled out a knife from his bag and pointed it at Lee, telling him to fill the bag with money from the safe.

Lee did so, making sure to put the bag inside the safe so that the CCTVs could not capture the exact amount taken.

Following Lee’s instructions, Tan told Lee to put his head in the safe. Tan then fled with the S$6,000 and Lee called the police.

Tan has since been sentenced to four months’ jail for the robbery.

Lee was arrested three days afterwards. He gave several statements to the police but did not admit to staging the robbery then.

While handing down the sentence, District Judge Marvin Bay noted that Lee had taken “elaborate lengths… to lend an air of authenticity by giving stage directions to your accomplice to exercise a measure of aggression and brutality”.

For criminal breach of trust, he could have been jailed up to seven years, fined, or both.

Related topics

kopitiam robbery court crime gambling debt

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa