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    Dec 24, 2013

    Judge spares 'foolish' woman jail time

    SHE stole more than $38,000 worth of jewellery from her adoptive mother to give the 66-year-old a monthly allowance of $500.

    In sentencing 24-year-old Sarina Chan Jee Chin to 21 months of probation and 130 hours of community service, District Judge Low Wee Ping said: "I don't think you are a criminal to be put in prison, but it was a very foolish way to please your adoptive mother."

    Chan, who is from China and adopted when she was four years old, could have been jailed up to seven years and fined for theft after pleading guilty.

    While the prosecution had argued that there was nothing unusual about this case to spare Chan a jail term, the judge disagreed, saying that there were "many special circumstances", including how ample restitution had been made.

    The judge also referred to Chan's good academic results - she graduated from Nanyang Polytechnic with a diploma in visual communications - and her present job as a freelance media-research consultant.

    He said: "It would be excessive punishment to destroy all this and give her a criminal record."

    It was in late 2010, after Chan's graduation, when her adoptive mother, Madam Yeo Ah Moy, asked for a monthly allowance.

    Unable to find a job, Chan resorted to stealing $2,255 worth of gold jewellery from a drawer in Madam Yeo's bedroom in March 2011. She pawned the jewellery. She stole three more times the next year, and another time in January this year.

    Five months later, Madam Yeo discovered her jewellery missing and went to the police.