SINGAPORE — Wanting to collect a debt from his ex-girlfriend, a man broke into her house and tied her two young daughters and the domestic helper with cable ties, rope and masking tape.
He then placed a gas cylinder at the door to a room and threatened to blow the house up.
When his ex-girlfriend returned home, Mohamad Ridwan Ali also tied her up and cut her clothes, and remained with the family for the next two days.
Ridwan was sentenced to five years, nine months jail, together with six strokes of the cane on Monday (13 July), after he pleaded guilty to house-breaking by night with preparation to restrain the victims, criminal intimidation, wrongful confinement and two counts of causing hurt, and criminal intimidation with threat to cause death. Another four counts, including wrongful confinement, were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
The victims all cannot be named to protect their identity.
Ridhwan, 38, broke into the ex-girlfriend’s house on 16 March, more than a year after their relationship ended in January last year.
At around 2.30am, Ridwan reached in through a gap to take a key hanging on a wall near the front door. He then used the key to unlock the front gate and unlawfully entered the house, which was occupied by the two daughters, aged seven and 10, and the domestic helper at the time. He knew where the keys were hung due to his previous relationship with the woman, who was not home then.
Ridwan had made preparations to restrain the occupants of the unit by bringing along masking tape, cable ties, and rope. He proceeded into the girls’ room where he startled them into screaming.
Hearing their screams, the maid went to check on them. Upon entering the room, she was pushed against a wardrobe by Ridwan, and hit her head against the back of the drawers. Ridwan, who wielded a knife, then told her his ex-girlfriend owed him $6,000, and that he was looking for her. The maid replied that she did not know when the woman would return home.
Ridwan then used the tools he had brought along to tie the hands and feet of the maid and the children. He then carried the girls to the maid’s bedroom. The maid was forced to hop to the bedroom after them.
The man then moved a gas cylinder from the kitchen to the entrance of the bedroom and threatened to blow up the unit if the children did not keep quiet. He also used masking tape to gag the maid and the children.
About half an hour after the break-in, his ex-girlfriend returned and was pushed forcefully to the floor upon entering. The man placed a knife against her neck, instructing her to stay silent. He showed her the bound children to keep her cooperative before bringing her to her own bedroom, where another gas cylinder was placed at the entrance.
He then bound the woman’s limbs and began to look through her handphone. Seeing that the woman had been messaging a male friend, he confronted her over the messages and the supposed debt she owed him.
“In the course of the confrontation, Ridwan sat on the gas cylinder …and threatened to blow up the unit with the gas cylinder, while switching the gas cylinder on, and holding a lighter and flicking the wheel of the lighter to expose the flame,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Wei Liang.
The woman pleaded with the man to release her and he complied after some time. Ridwan then expressed his unhappiness with the clothes the woman was wearing and proceeded to cut them. The woman assured Ridwan that she would not call the police or her male friend and have sex with him, as she wanted to distract him.
After 7.30am, the victim successfully persuaded Ridwan to untie the maid and her children, by repeatedly assuring him that she would not report the incident.
Shortly after, the man brought the family to have breakfast. He then fetched the children to his parents’ residence in Boon Lay and brought the woman along on some deliveries.
The woman wanted to seek help throughout the day but was kept from doing so by the presence of the man, who had a knife with him.
That evening, while buying dinner with Ridwan, the woman called the maid under the pretext of asking what she wanted to eat. She instructed the domestic helper to preserve the cut clothing, cable ties and ropes as evidence.
The next day, the man continued staying with the family and fetched the woman to her office to run an errand. While there, the woman called the maid with instructions to call her ex-husband to lodge a police report. The man was arrested later that day, at about 5.55pm at 768 Woodlands Avenue 6. He was found with two knifes, a hammer and a screwdriver on him.
Mitigating in court, Ridwan said that he had not planned to ambush the family. He said he had been with the family for almost two years and that his belongings were in the unit.
He said, “This crime wasn’t a plan… all the things were all for work the tools were all for work. (It was a) spur of the moment decision made by me myself. I myself was in shock and unexpected that girlfriend was not home...it can’t be undone.”
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