Liew Cheong Hwa v Public Prosecutor

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeSuriakumari d/o Sidambaram
Judgment Date29 January 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGDC 28
Citation[2001] SGDC 28
Published date19 April 2005

Liew Cheong Hwa ...appellant


Public Prosecutor ...respondent

Citation: DAC No 28726 of 2000
Jurisdiction: Singapore
Date: 2001:01:29
2000:11:09, 2000:10:19, 2000:10:18, 2000:10:04 - 2000:10:06
Court: Subordinate Courts
Coram: Suriakumari Sidambaram, District Judge
Counsel: Inspector Wong Keng (Prosecuting Officer)
Mr Sant Singh and Mr Foo Cheow Ming (Defence Counsel)


Grounds of Decision

A. The charge

1. The Prosecution proceeded on the following charge ("the charge") against the Accused in this case:

DAC 28726/2000 ("P1")


Liew Cheong Hwa, m/42 yrs

NRIC NO. S 1301568-F

are charged that you on or about the 17th day of June 2000, at or about 2.45 p.m., at Carrefour Singapore Pte Ltd, located at No.3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall, Singapore, a place used for the custody of property, did commit theft of a "Mobile Plus" earpiece valued at S$26.00, in the custody of the Assistant Head Security Mr Chua Soon Hock and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 380 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

2. The Accused claimed trial to the charge. At the end of the trial, I found the Accused guilty and convicted him on the charge. After considering all the circumstances of the case and his mitigation, I sentenced the Accused to 2 weeks' imprisonment. The Accused being dissatisfied with the conviction and sentence is appealing against them.

B. The Facts

(a) The Prosecution’s case

3. The first witness for the Prosecution was Sgt Noor Azam Bin Awang ("Noor Azam"), a Scene of Crime Unit officer cum Field Officer from the Central Police Division HQ, cum the police photographer in this case. His evidence was partly by way of a conditioned statement "PS1" and partly oral. He testified that on 17/6/2000, on the instructions of the investigating officer ("IO"), David Ong Tat Wei ("David"), he took 6 photographs ("P2" to "P7") at Carrefour Singapore Pte Ltd ("Carrefour"). He said that on 17/6 2000, he was not directed by IO David to dust for fingerprints. He said that he was however a couple of days after 17/6/2000, he was directed by IO Pang Kee Soon ("IO Pang") to return to Carrefour to dust for fingerprints on the washing machine where the stolen item was found but he could not dust for fingerprints because the washing machine had not been preserved since the date of the offence until the day he returned to dust for fingerprints. He said that he himself never saw the stolen item in the washing machine on the 2 occasions that he went to Carrefour.

4. The next witness was Phoa Thiam Chuan ("Phoa"), a part–time Security Officer at Carrefour, who gave evidence that on 17/6/2000, he commenced duty at 2.10p.m and that at about 2.25 pm when he was on duty at the 2nd level of Carrefour, he noticed the Accused holding a box of "Monopoly Game", measuring "2 feet long by 6 or 7 inches wide, 4 inches thick", similar to "D1" in his hand, behaving suspiciously. He said that he saw the Accused going from the toys section to the handphone section shown in the photograph "P3". Phoa testified that at the handphone section, the Accused behaved suspiciously and was looking around him whilst also looking at the displayed items. He added that at a time when the Accused was alone, the Accused picked up a handphone accessory set, took a look at it and "hid" the set behind the "Monopoly Game" box and walked away. Phoa said that he was at that time about 5 to 6 metres away from the Accused when he observed the Accused. Phoa also said that his view of the Accused was not obstructed by anything.

5. Phoa said that after having taken the handphone accessory set, the Accused walked to the washing machine section where it was not crowded and began to meddle with the handphone accessory packaging. Phoa said that he then called his colleague, a Senior Security Officer, Kelvin Po Kheng Chye ("Kelvin"), who was then at the compact discs (CD) Section about 2 metres from Phoa, on his handphone and told him that the Accused had started to meddle with the packaging of the handphone accessory and asked for Kelvin's assistance. He said that he called Kelvin on the handphone because in the security line when on duty, they normally contacted their colleagues over the handphone so as not to expose their identities unnecessarily.

6. Phoa said that he continued to observe the Accused and saw the Accused remove the earpiece "P9" from the packaging "P8", put the packaging "P8" into a washing machine and put the earpiece "P9" into his right trousers pocket. Phoa gave evidence that there was nothing obstructing his view of what the Accused was doing except that he could not see clearly how the Accused prised open the packaging with his hands due to the monopoly game set in the Accused's hand but that he saw the Accused turning right and left and having managed to open the packaging. Phoa said that after the Accused had put the earpiece P9 into his trouser pocket, he walked away still holding the "Monopoly Game" set in his hand, and returned to the toys section and put the Monopoly Game set back on its shelf. Phoa observed that the Accused then walked to Cashier counter 34 shown in photos "P6" and "P7", from where the Accused just walked out from the Carrefour store without making any payment. Phoa denied that the Accused had at any time stopped or queued at Counter 32 at all. Phoa said that after the Accused had passed Counter 34 and gone out from the Carrefour store, Phoa went and stopped the Accused at the point marked "O" in the photograph "P7" which is outside the Carrefour premises; identified himself as a Security Officer; and asked the Accused if there is anything for which he had not made payment. Phoa said that the Accused replied that there was nothing. Phoa said that at that time Kelvin was not present at the place where he detained the Accused. Phoa then brought the Accused to the Security Office for questioning.

7. Phoa said that at the juncture when he saw the Accused put the packaging "P8" in the washing machine and the earpiece "P9" into his pocket and walk away from the washing machine section, he did not retrieve the packaging "P8" from the washing machine because he was waiting to see if the Accused would come back to check on the packaging. He added that if the Accused does return and finds that the packaging had been retrieved, the Accused would then suspect that he is being trailed and would dispose of the earpiece.

8. Phoa said that when he brought the Accused to the Security Office, Kelvin also came into the Security Office almost at the same time as the Accused and Phoa. Phoa added that while they were at the Security Office, he had repeated the same question and asked the Accused whether there was any item for which he had not made payment but that the Accused had again said there was none. Phoa further said that Kelvin then asked another of their colleagues, Ricky Loh Geng Yu ("Ricky"), to go to the washing machine section and to bring back an empty packaging from a washing machine there to the Security Office.

9. Phoa added that in the meantime, after Ricky had gone out to fetch the empty handphone accessory packaging, he(Phoa) had placed on the table in the office, an empty Canon printer cartridge box, similar to "D2", that he had found earlier at about 2.20 pm during his patrol duty that day, in a refrigerator on display and which he had been holding in his hand. He said that the Accused had immediately on seeing the empty printer cartridge box had claimed that it was not taken by him. Phoa stated that he did not see anyone taking the cartridge out of that box or put that empty box in the refrigerator. He said that he had merely brought it to the Security Office to make a report about it for record purposes. He said that he had earlier already informed Kelvin about the empty cartridge box.

10. Phoa stated that subsequently Ricky returned with the packaging P8, put it on the table and left the office. After that, Phoa had told the Accused "Sir, I saw you take this earlier" to which the Accused had just kept quiet and in the presence of Kelvin and Phoa, took out an earpiece from his right trouser pocket and put it on the table. Phoa confirmed that the earpiece "P9" and the packaging "P8" formed a set. Phoa testified that the Accused then began to plead with them to give him a chance and to allow him to make payment and also that the Accused pulled Kelvin by his hand but was told that there was nothing else they could do. He said that Kelvin typed a statement on the computer whilst he (Phoa) reported the matter to the Assistant Head Security, Chua Soon Hock ("Chua") who subsequently informed Ryan Cheng ("Ryan") to call the police. Phoa further stated that after Ryan had called the police, Phoa left the office and that by the time he returned to the office again, the police had already taken the Accused away. Phoa confirmed that prior to the incident, he did not know the Accused and never had any misunderstanding with the Accused.

11. The Prosecution next called Chua Soon Hock ("Chua"), Department Head of Security at Carrefour (Assistant Department Head as at 17/6/2000), as its witness. Chua said that on 17/6/2000 he was informed of a case of shoplifting and that at about 2.50.p.m to 3.p.m, he together with his management trainee, Ryan Cheng ("Ryan"), went to the Security Office.

12. Chua testified that when he went into the office, he saw Phoa and Kelvin in the office with the Accused. He said that he saw Kelvin preparing the handover form, by keying the facts and the detaining officer's particulars into the computer, and also enquiring something from the Accused. He said that the handover forms will be prepared in duplicate, that is, one copy for Carrefour's file and one copy to be handed to the police when they arrive. Chua added that Phoa and Kelvin told him that the Accused had been detained for unpaid...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT