Last 2 times children were kidnapped off the streets in S’pore: 1999 & 2003

Last 2 times children were kidnapped off the streets in S’pore: 1999 & 2003

Mothership.SG·2018-01-28 03:40

The fear of getting kidnapped was heightened in Singapore recently.

A spate of media reports played up kidnapping fears after two female students from two international schools in the Dover area separately claimed to have been offered lifts by strangers.

The schools issued warnings to parents and police reports were also filed over each incident.

Both cases turned out to be false alarms.

Why are kidnappings rare in Singapore?

Kidnapping for ransom happens in Singapore, but rarely.

The last high-profile case involved the kidnapping of the elderly mother of Sheng Siong supermarket boss Lim Hock Chee in January 2014.

The ransom, which was paid, was S$2 million.

The perpetrator, Lee Sze Yong, was sentenced to life imprisonment and given three strokes of the cane. He asked for the death sentence but his request was not honoured.

In Singapore, the penalty for kidnapping for ransom is death, although rarely applied. Stricter laws were put in place after a spate of deadly kidnappings in the 1960s.

Kidnappings difficult to pull off

There are a few reasons that explain why kidnappings are difficult to pull off in Singapore.

First, it is difficult to hold a hostage in Singapore for long as the country is small.

Second, leaving the jurisdiction is almost impossible given the tight border controls.

When was the last time children were kidnapped for ransom?

The last two times kidnap-for-ransom of children occurred was in 1999 and 2003.

1999

The case: The 14-year-old daughter of a wealthy car dealer was pulled into a van, blindfolded and tied with adhesive tape while walking home.

The incident occurred along Sian Tuan Avenue near Binjai Park on Sept. 9, 1999.

For nearly 60 hours the abductee was kept in a nearby rented house in Lorong Kismis.

Ransom: Her abductors — mastermind Vincent Lee Chuan Leong, 33, and Chinese nationals Zhou Jian Guang, 26, and Shi Song Jing, 29 — negotiated for a S$500,000 ransom, which was later lowered to S$330,000.

From left to right: Mastermind Vincent Lee Chuan Leong and Chinese nationals Shi Song Jing and Zhou Jian Guang.

How were the perpetrators caught:

A prepaid phone card was bought so the girl could talk to her father.

The kidnappers’identities were tracked down through a credit card used to purchase the phone card.

The ransom was paid on Sept. 11 and the girl freed at about 7.40am the next morning.

Twenty minutes after her release, Lee — a bankrupt who held degrees in mathematics and finance — was arrested at his five-room Pasir Ris flat.

Zhou and Shi were arrested at a flat in Telok Blangah Crescent on Sept. 14.

Lee was sentenced to life in prison on April 24, 2000.

His two accomplices received the same sentence five days later.

2003

The case: On Christmas Day 2003, a seven-year-old girl was taken from her home off Yio Chu Kang Road by a man at about 4.30pm.

Her captors were two middle-aged men.

After being put into a waiting vehicle, they drove off towards Punggol.

How were the perpetrators caught: Fortunately, a catering assistant who was at the victim’s residence preparing for a Christmas party heard the commotion and took down the getaway vehicle’s licence number.

She called her husband, who spotted the vehicle and gave chase.

The kidnappers dumped the little girl off Tampines Street 72, half an hour after she was kidnapped.

Transport manager Tan Ping Koon, 35, and cleaning company owner Chua Ser Lian, 42, were both sentenced to life imprisonment and three strokes of the cane each for the offence.

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Singapore Security