(Singapore Straits Time, 05 August 2010): Sorting his loot after a burglarly, Matthew Ong Joo Wah kept the S$180,000 (US$132,714) in cash and foreign currencies, the two Rolex watches worth a total S$11,000 (US$8,184), and threw away four albums containing old China stamps, which he thought was worthless.
Only after he was arrested about two weeks later, did he learn that the stamps were valued at S$100,000 (US$73,730). By then, they could not be found.
The 30-year old pleaded guilty to three counts of housebreaking on Thursday. As he had several previous convictions for theft and cheating, District Judge Sarjit Singh called for corrective training and preventive detention reports. Such longer and tougher detention is meant for seasoned offenders.
The court heard that at 12pm on 11 March 2010, Ong noticed that an apartment at Le Meritt condominium in Telok Kurau appeared unoccupied. He sneaked in after forcing open the balcony's sliding doors.
Finding a safe in a bedroom, he wrapped it in a blanket and carried to his car. After he forced the safe open, he kept the money, the watches but disposed off the stamp albums at the rubbish collection point.
Ong then went to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), where he sold the watches to an illegal secondhand dealer and gambled some of the money away. The next day, he flew off to Vietnam with his Vietnamese girlfriend. There he gave her S$6,000.
He was arrested at the Causeway checkpoint upon his return on 26 March 2010. Cash amounting to S$113,400 (US$83,609) was recovered from him.
Ong also admitted to breaking into two other homes and stealing a total of S$17,000 (US$12,534) in cash and S$25,000 (US$18,428) worth of jewellery and watches. He sold off the stolen items and then gambled away the money at RWS.