Goh Lee Yin, S’porean woman with ‘irresistible urge to steal’ admits shoplifting. Thirty-year-old Goh Lee Yin had been convicted of shoplifting on two occasions, in 2005 and 2007.Goh Lee Yin appealed against her jail sentences in both cases, and was given probation after she was diagnosed with kleptomania.Those with this mental disorder often display an irresistible urge to steal from others.But the former engineer was unable to escape a jail term when Goh Lee Yin was caught stealing again, this time nearly S$8,700 worth of goods between December 2010 and last month.
That’s because a report from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) revealed that it was unlikely that kleptomania was a motivating factor behind Goh Lee Yin’s most recent string of offences.Community Court Judge Ng Peng Hong sentenced Goh Lee Yin to six weeks’ jail and a fine of S$4,000 after she pleaded guilty to three of four shoplifting charges.
Goh Lee Yin, who is now unemployed, targeted three designer boutiques and made off a Chanel bag, a Gucci dress as well as an Emporio Armani sweater in December last year.Dr Stephen Phang, the IMH senior consultant who examined Goh Lee Yin, stated in his report that she shoplifted due to what he referred to as “comfort stealing”.
Those who commit it do so to soothe their frustrations, explained Dr Phang.He also pointed out that Goh Lee Yin had chosen to steal expensive items from luxury establishments.Kleptomaniacs, on the other hand, tend to steal things that are “not needed for personal use” or have “little personal value”, said Dr Phang.
He, however, suggested that Goh Lee Yin should go for counselling and psychiatric monitoring as she is at risk of developing other mental disorders such as depression.Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Kok Weng said that Goh Lee Yin reoffended again on June 24 while she was out on court bail.
This time, she stole items including two magazines and some groceries from Ang Mo Kio Hub’s NTUC Fairprice supermarket.Dr Phang told the court he was unable to comment on the possible reasons for her action as he did not examine her after she committed the offence.
DPP Wong pressed for a 10-week jail sentence, saying that Goh Lee Yin’s “pattern of reoffending is troubling” and that she had committed the crimes “out of greed”.Defence Counsel Choo Si Sen urged the court to sentence his client to six weeks’ jail and pointed out that Goh Lee Yin has been in remand since 25 June.
Mr Choo said that with one-third remission for good behaviour, she could be released Friday so that she can continue with her psychiatric counselling.