‘Don’t come back,’ judge tells repeat Panadol thief who cleaned out supermarket shelf

SINGAPORE: A repeat thief who was released on remission for a previous offence of stealing Panadol went back to filching the medication again – this time clearing out one supermarket shelf of all its supply.

However, he refused to reveal what he did with all that Panadol – at least 66 boxes’ worth, and made no restitution.

Sng Cheow Sim, 51, was sentenced on Monday (Nov 20) to two years’ jail and an additional 47 days for offending while on remission.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of theft, with a third charge taken into consideration.

The court heard that Sng was sentenced to 19 months’ jail in 2022 for stealing about S$250 (US$186) worth of Panadol.

In August, while still on remission for the previous offences, Sng began stealing again.

He went to a supermarket Ang Mo Kio Hub and stole 30 boxes of Panadol worth S$330 in total, concealing them in a tote bag.

A security guard saw Sng place the boxes in his bag and gave chase when Sng left without paying, but lost sight of him.

The guard lodged a police report that same day. Sng’s acts were caught by closed-circuit television cameras.

On Aug 21, Sng returned to the same supermarket. He placed 36 boxes of Panadol tablets – including Panadol Extra, Panadol Sinus Max and Panadol Cold Relief – into his tote bag and left without paying.

A store executive later lodged a police report after a security officer told him that the shelf displaying Panadol products had been cleaned out.

Sng was identified by the police and arrested two days later. The stolen items were not recovered as Sng refused to say what he had done with them.

On Monday, the prosecutor sought at least two years’ jail for Sng.

State Prosecuting Officer Lim Yeow Leong said Sng has a string of property-related offences between 1990 and 2022 and is a “recalcitrant and persistent offender”.

His last conviction also involved the theft of Panadol, with a similar fact pattern, but the jail term had not deterred him, said Mr Lim.

This time, the total value of the stolen items including the charge taken into consideration was about S$970, said Mr Lim.

Sng had no lawyer and gave his mitigation from his place of remand.

He said he would like the judge to sentence him “more leniently” because his mother had breast cancer.

“I (have been) in prison for quite a couple of times already,” said Sng. “I do some reflection inside. No point la, no point.”

He said he hopes to become a better person when he comes out.

The judge told him that he sincerely wished him “all the best” with this.

“Don’t come back, OK,” the judge told Sng. He added that if Sng did, he would get worse penalties.