Prison time: Abdul Waris being led away after he was sentenced by the Sessions Court in George Town.
GEORGE TOWN: A Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) worker, who snatched the handbag of a Chinese national in Love Lane here last year, has been sentenced to five years’ jail and ordered to be given 10 strokes of the rotan after changing his plea to guilty in the Sessions Court here.
Abdul Waris Abdul Aziz, 34, had claimed trial on July 12 last year to robbing tourist Dai Qi, 41, of her handbag containing three passports, two driving licences, a purse, two credit cards, four ATM cards, three Chinese identification cards, a Samsung mobile phone, RM492 and 1,300 renminbi at 9.15pm on July 2 last year.
He was charged with robbery under Section 392 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum jail term of 14 years and a fine or whipping.
In reading out his judgment, judge Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim told Abdul Waris that he was lucky that the victim did not die.
“In many cases such as this, the victim usually dies. However, this does not mean that you will be given a light sentence,” he said.
Khairul Anuar then ordered Abdul Waris to serve the jail term from the date of his arrest, which was July 2 last year.
Earlier, in mitigation, lawyer Choo Hueay Ting from the Penang Legal Aid Department sought a minimum sentence as Abdul Waris’ guilty plea had saved the court’s time and cost.
She also said her client, who earned only RM900 per month as a council worker, was suffering from epilepsy and committed the offence under the influence of alcohol.
DPP Lim Cheah Yit urged to court to mete out a deterrent sentence as a lesson to the accused and the public.
“The incident, which was reported widely in the newspapers and Internet, had a huge impact on the tourism industry,” said Lim.
It was reported on July 3 that a suspect wearing a council T-shirt was caught in the act when he rode up on a motorcycle and grabbed Dai’s bag while her husband Luo Yong, 41, was taking pictures of her.
Luo pounced on the man and shoved him off the machine during the incident.
Luo and Dai are police personnel who were in Penang for a holiday with their 10-year-old son.