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Man jailed for beating up his mother after she refused to reveal her ATM card's PIN

SINGAPORE – A man attacked his elderly mother with her walking stick after she refused to disclose the personal identification number (PIN) of her automated teller machine (ATM) card.

He even threatened to cut all of the 77-year-old’s fingers with a knife.

She was so badly injured that she only crawled out of bed the next day.

Adrian Yap Yin Leung, 56, was sentenced to jail for five years and three months on Thursday (Jan 14).

He pleaded guilty to one count each of voluntarily causing hurt to his mother while robbing her and subsequently failing to report to the police for investigations.

One other charge of possessing a false Singapore passport was taken into consideration during sentencing by District Judge Ronald Gwee.

On Oct 16, 2018 at about 11pm, Yap and his mother, Madam Eunice Tsang Siew Geok, were in the unit she was residing in. Court documents do not state if they were living together.

Wanting to withdraw money from his mother’s POSB account for his own use, Yap asked her for the PIN of her ATM card.

When she refused to tell him, Yap hit her multiple times with her walking stick. He also kicked and stamped on her body, pulled her hair and threatened to cut all of her fingers with a knife.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Woon Yee said that the assault stopped only after Madam Tsang relented and revealed her PIN.

“As she was badly injured and in great pain, the victim was unable to call for police assistance after the assault. She then lay down in her room to rest,” said the DPP.

Yap left the unit at about 3am the next day and withdrew $2,000 from his mother’s bank account.

Madam Tsang later crawled out of her bed and sought assistance from her neighbours, who called the police after noticing the injuries on her face.

She was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where she was found with injuries such as fractures to her ribs and haemorrhage around her brain. She was warded in the hospital for 36 days.

DPP Lim said that the woman became fearful of going out of her unit alone after the incident, for fear of being beaten up. She also had recurrent thoughts of Yap’s assault.

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He was arrested on Oct 26, 2018, and released on personal bond the next day.

As a condition of the bond, he was required to report to Tanglin Police Station for investigations on Nov 9 that year, but failed to do so. He was arrested again on Aug 5, 2019.

Urging the count to sentence Yap to five years and three months’ jail, DPP Lim noted the severity of Madam Tsang’s injuries and the trauma she had suffered.

Among other things, the DPP also highlighted how Yap had assaulted his mother who was “frail, helpless and unable to retaliate”.

Yap’s lawyer Ng Shi Yang said in mitigation that there was no premeditation to his client’s assault. It was also the first time he had committed an offence involving violence, added the lawyer.

District Judge Gwee backdated Yap’s sentence to Oct 31, 2019, when he was first remanded.

When The Straits Times went to the unit on Thursday, neighbours said the elderly victim moved out about a year ago. 

A domestic worker, who did not want to be identified, said she was the first person to see Madam Tsang early in the morning the day after the assault, when she was picking up the newspapers. 

She said the victim was seated on the floor just outside her unit crying, with a large bruise on her head. 

“She asked for help, and I was scared, so I quickly called my employer who called the police,” she said. 

The maid added that Madam Tsang lived with her elderly husband who was deaf, and they both required walking aids. 

Another neighbour, a woman who looked to be in her 60s and did not want to be identified, said the elderly couple had moved out with a woman believed to be their daughter. 

She said: “It’s good that justice is done. How can someone beat his own mother?”

The neighbour added that the elderly couple mostly kept to themselves and the unit has remained vacant ever since they moved out.

For voluntarily causing hurt while committing robbery, offenders could be jailed between five and 20 years and caned with at least 12 strokes. Yap cannot be caned as he is above 50.

He could have been jailed for up to three years and/or fined for failing to report at the police station.

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