A Malaysian man could have made do with his respectable salary of SG$2,900 or $2,137 as a construction foreman in Singapore, but his bad habits got the worse of him. Now he has to face the consequences of his actions as he was handed down a two-year prison sentence this Tuesday, The Strait Times Reported.
Lim Cheng Siang’s life would change rapidly last year after one bad decision led to the next. While working in Singapore, the man developed a proclivity for gambling which quickly landed him in bad company.
He saw his gambling habits far exceed what he could afford to spend on the hobby and eventually, he amassed an SG$50,000 debt, the equivalent of $36,850. This money was difficult for him to muster and cover, but worse, there were people waiting to collect the loans. According to the media, Lim was pressured by loan sharks who were looking to get at least SG$5,000 every month or $3,685.
This was a significant sum and beyond Lim’s means whose job only fetched him SG$2,900 ($2,137). So, what did he do? He decided to act, but instead of negotiating a better rate of payment from the loan sharks, Lim suddenly thought that getting money through illicit and reckless means was a far better way to approach the situation.
He decided to rob a small pawn shop in Singapore. So, in September 2021, he managed to hold up a small place he cased which fetched him roughly SG$35,000 in cash, or $26,000. His ill-gotten money could potentially keep the loan sharks off his back for at least eight months and almost fully covered his debt. However, Lim had "a better idea."
He wanted to use the money to earn more. Little did he know that he had left fingerprints on the crime scene that would eventually lead to his arrest. In any event, Lim headed to the Marina Bay Sands casino where he wanted to gamble the $26,000 and try to earn more and cover his debt.
He was mistaken and ended up squandering the remainder of the money. Terrified and penniless he decided to go into hiding, but chose a poor spot, in his rental apartment. Shortly after his Marina Bay Sands escapade, the police caught up to him and identified him as the culprit using DNA analysis.
Lim has been awaiting trial since 2021 and will now have to serve his six-year prison sentence. He was also served with caning, but this punishment is unlikely to be carried out. Lim could at least hope that he would remain beyond the reach of the loan sharks in prison and start anew back home. His offense bears a maximum sentence of ten years.
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