Gambling Debt Leads Malaysian Man in Singapore to Life of Crime

Posted on: March 9, 2022, 09:09h. 

Last updated on: March 9, 2022, 11:59h.

One man’s attempt to get away from his gambling debt led to more trouble for him in Singapore. The Malaysian citizen robbed a store in an attempt to pick up some quick cash, but it went horribly wrong.

Singapore Court
A typical courtroom in Singapore. One like this is where a Malaysian man learned his fate this week after robbing a pawnshop for gambling money. (Image: Singapore Judiciary Court)

Lim Cheng Siang was living in Singapore where he worked as a construction foreman, according to The Straits Times. However, he apparently enjoyed gambling a little too much, resulting in requests for loans from friends and loan sharks.

Lim apparently wasn’t a very prolific gambler, as he was never able to win enough to pay off the debts. He had racked up SGD$50,000 (US$36,850) in outstanding loans, with nothing from the casinos to show for it. It was then that he decided to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

The 46-year-old had a payment plan in place, but it certainly wasn’t favorable. He had to pay SGD$5,000 (US$3,685) a month, despite only earning SGD$2,900 (US$2,137) a month.

Desperate to get out of the situation, Lim attacked a pawn shop last September. After feigning interest in a piece of jewelry, he threatened the store’s employees with a knife and ultimately got away with SGD$35,000 (US$25,791).

One Bad Deed Leads to Another

That left him short of the amount he needed to cover the loans, so Lim did the only thing he thought would turn things around. After returning to his job to distribute work to the employees, he went to the Marina Bay Sands casino to gamble. His lack of proficiency, however, continued. Lim was, once again, in the hole.

Lim was on the lam for two days before the police caught up with him. He didn’t do a good job hiding, as they found him in his rental apartment. The would-be gambler/criminal didn’t bother wearing gloves while committing the robbery, and police were able to uncover his identity through his fingerprints.

When the police corralled him, they discovered some of the money – SGD$4,474 (US$3,294), according to police – and the gold necklace he stole. The jewelry had a reported value of SGD$10,000 (US$7,364).

Manhunt Finds Its Target

With nowhere to run, he admitted his actions. He told police that he used some of the money to pay down his debts, but also gave some of it to his girlfriend.

Lim appeared before a judge this past Tuesday to learn his fate. He will spend two and a half years behind bars and was to receive “six strokes of the cane.” The jail term began as of the day of his arrest, which means he still has about two years to go.

Things could have been worse. The judge could have given Lim the maximum sentence of 10 years and six strokes of the cane, according to The Straits Times.