Weird flex but OK: Teens who robbed sex workers say they were inspired by ‘Crimewatch’ episode

Robbing a sex worker means you’ll get off scot-free since he or she wouldn’t dare try to turn you in to the authorities.

That’s the dimwitted logic that a trio of teenage robbers — two of who pleaded guilty to armed robbery last Friday, June 28 — applied when they hatched a plan to rob sex workers with a fruit knife. Their daft assumption was proven wrong, however, when their victim filed a police report just days following the incident, which occurred in Woodlands in September of last year.

The two perpetrators who pleaded guilty — John Karan Karunakaran, 18, and Theophileous Jebaraj, 16 — each were charged with armed robbery at night involving $100. The youngest offender, who cannot be named publicly due to his young age, also pleaded guilty to the crime at the Youth Courts back in May.

According to Asiaone, Jebaraj was serving an 18-month sentence for a separate offense at the Singapore Boys’ Home but was given permission to leave the home on September 2 last year.

The teen decided not to return to home, and while on the run the next day, he met up with the other two accomplices. One of them, Karunakaran, was on probation at the time, according to the same Asiaone report.

Yahoo News Singapore reported that it was during this meetup that Jebaraj recalled watching a segment in Crimewatch — a TV series co-produced by the National Crime Prevention Council and Singapore Police Force — about robbery cases targeting sex workers, which the show portrayed as distrusting of authorities due to their own illicit occupational activities.

After conducting an online search, the teens found two illegal sex workers from China who lived in a rented flat in Woodlands. The teens executed their crime on September 5 last year, after misleading a 36-year-old woman into thinking they were potential clients.

The woman subsequently invited the youth to her flat, but when her flatmate led Jebaraj into one of the property’s rooms, he brought out a fruit knife, pointed it at her and demanded they hand over any money they had. After searching the room, he took $100 in cash. He left the room and instructed his accomplices to look for valuables, though it is not known whether they succeeded in finding any.

The three teens left the scene and the unidentified victim lodged a police report four days later.

Asiaone reported that the older teens are expected to be sentenced on July 18, pending reports on their suitability of reformative training, a rehabilitative sentencing option for offenders under the age of 21 who are unsuitable for probation.

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