SINGAPORE – A debt-ridden Aetos auxiliary officer who robbed a licensed moneylending company in Jurong while armed with a loaded gun was sentenced to 16½ years’ jail and ordered to be given 18 strokes of the cane on Tuesday.
Mahadi Muhamad Mukhtar, 39, admitted in court that he decided to copy the approach used by David James Roach, the Canadian who robbed Standard Chartered Bank in 2016 and wrote his demands in a note.
At 3.30pm on April 12 last year, Mahadi, who was not in uniform but was carrying his service revolver loaded with five rounds, passed the note to a loan officer at OT Credit at Block 135 Jurong Gateway Road.
After making off with more than $24,800, he transferred some of the stolen cash to a friend and deposited $14,000 into his bank account.
He then returned to Aetos headquarters, changed into his uniform and carried out his duties.
Mahadi later transferred more than $11,000 to four loansharks via online banking and threw the torn-up note into a dustbin outside ST Engineering, where he was deployed to work.
He was arrested less than five hours later.
Police said then that it was the first time in 15 years that a gun had been used in an armed robbery. The last armed robbery involving a firearm happened in 2006 at a 4-D outlet at Sun Plaza Shopping Centre.
The bulk of the money was later recovered by investigators who traced the funds but $5,200 remained missing. The note was also recovered.
On Tuesday, former Aetos employee Mahadi pleaded guilty to two charges under the Armed Offences Act ‒ one for unlawful possession of a firearm and one for unlawfully carrying a firearm ‒ and one charge of robbery.
The High Court heard that Mahadi started borrowing money from loansharks in February last year to pay off bank loans, and owed money to six unlicensed moneylenders.
He decided to commit robbery to solve his financial woes and his phone’s browsing history showed that he had researched the subject of robbery, said prosecutors.
The court heard that he first thought of robbing a jewellery store but dropped the idea as the loot would be difficult to sell.
He then decided to rob a licensed moneylender, and selected OT Credit as it was staffed by women and had been previously robbed.