SINGAPORE, April 1 — Spotting a woman alone in the car park of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) Hub in Toa Payoh, a 57-year-old man took a knife and tried to rob her of her handbag.

When she fell to the ground during the attempted robbery, Boey Yan Kit, who is self-employed and made signboards for schools and childcare centres, stomped on her shoulder and punched her several times.

Failing to take her handbag, Boey then drove against traffic in the car park to escape, nearly hitting a car.

Today, a day before his birthday, Boey was sentenced to five and a half years’ jail for voluntarily causing hurt in attempting to commit robbery.

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His sentence was backdated to Jan 10, 2023 — the date of his arrest.

An additional charge of failing to stop at a red traffic light at the junction of Bedok South Road and Bedok South Avenue 2 was taken into consideration for sentencing.

What happened

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On Jan 9, 2023 at about 9.30am, Boey was seated in his rented car at the HDB Hub car park looking out for women who were alone.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Delicia Tan told the court that he was doing so as “he needed money and wanted to rob them”.

Shortly before 11am, Boey spotted a 48-year-old woman walking to her car alone and decided to rob her of her handbag.

He alighted from his car and followed the victim from behind, holding a knife measuring 23cm in length.

In dashcam footage captured from a vehicle parked behind the woman’s car and shown in court, Boey could be seen walking towards the woman.

As she was about to get into her car, the footage showed Boey approaching her from behind, before grabbing the victim by her neck.

Boey then pinned her to the driver’s seat before pointing the knife at the woman, repeatedly telling her to get into the car and that she was being robbed.

“The victim struggled and screamed. During the struggle, the victim fell to the ground and the accused (stomped) on the victim’s shoulder,” said DPP Tan.

“The accused then grabbed the victim’s hair and pushed her head to hit the ground twice.”

The woman tried to grab the knife from Boey and ended up cutting her right thumb. Boey also punched her in the head multiple times and kicked her.

DPP Tan said Boey tried to carry the woman into the car but failed to do so. He was also unable to take the woman’s handbag as she held on to it.

It is unclear why he tried to carry the woman into the car.

After about two minutes, Boey gave up trying to get the handbag and pushed the victim under her car so he could run away. He quickly ran to his car before driving off.

“During this time, the victim got out from under her car and stood in front of her car screaming for help,” said DPP Tan.

Passersby then came to help the woman, and one of them called the police.

In video footage captured by a security camera in the car park, Boey was seen driving against traffic, narrowly avoiding a collision with a silver car.

Island-wide hunt

DPP Tan said that investigations revealed Boey had accidentally cut himself in the car while trying to keep the knife and stained his shirt with blood.

Thus, he drove to his office in Clementi to change his clothes, before driving to the rooftop of Pioneer Centre along Soon Lee Road. He abandoned the vehicle there as “he knew that the police would be looking out for his car”.

At about 2pm that same day, Boey rented a grey van and drove around as “he was unsure what to do”.

“At various points later in the day, he saw cars tailing his van and he knew that police officers were chasing after him. He did not stop the van and drove off,” said DPP Tan.

She added that the police were on an island-wide hunt for Boey and had spotted the van thrice between 8.12pm and 9.32pm. However, they were unable to tail the vehicle and lost sight of the van on all three occasions.

Court documents did not state where the police spotted the van on the three occasions.

Later that evening, Boey abandoned the van at a back alley in River Valley before taking a bus to Katong. He then took another bus to Bugis, before heading to a friend’s home at Block 28 Jalan Bahagia in Whampoa to rest for the night.

The next morning, at about 7.50am, Boey left his friend’s home and was arrested in the vicinity.

Court documents did not state how police traced him there.

Targeted females as ‘easier’

As a result of the attempted armed robbery, the victim suffered a cut that impacted the nerves in her right thumb, and had to undergo an operation.

She was given 94 days of hospitalisation leave.

Pointing out the injuries and that Boey had purposely targeted a lone female who was “easier” to rob, DPP Tan sought a sentence of five and a half years’ jail to five years’ and nine months’ jail.

She added that Boey had tried to evade detection by abandoning vehicles twice, among other aggravating factors.

On behalf of Boey, Muhammad Taufiq Suraidi from the Public Defender’s Office asked for a sentence of five and a half years’ jail.

Six months of the suggested jail sentence was to make up for caning, as Boey cannot be caned due to his age.

Taufiq said Boey had no prior convictions, and that he had committed the crime from a “sense of desperation”.

While he did not provide specific details, Taufiq said Boey’s “life was crumbling, business was crumbling” and that he was on the brink of bankruptcy.

“He wishes to express his apologies (and Boey) will take time to seek necessary help given his life circumstances,” said Taufiq.

For causing hurt in attempting to commit robbery, Boey could be jailed for between five and 20 years and given not less than 12 strokes of the cane. As Boey is above the age of 50, he cannot be caned. — TODAY