Shell petrol station cashier given jail term for siphoning cash to pay debt

·Senior Reporter
·2-min read
An empty cash register.
An empty cash register. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A man with a history of property-related offences was given a chance to reform, after a judge decided not to impose corrective training on him.

Tan Tian Hock, 37, was instead given 20 months’ jail on Tuesday (28 December) despite being found suitable for corrective training, which is a more serious imprisonment term for repeat offenders, as it has no remission for good behaviour.

Tan, formerly a cashier at Shell Sembawang, had siphoned money from the station's cash register and his company’s cashcard.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal breach of trust as a servant, and theft as a servant. One similar count of theft as a servant was considered for his sentencing. He was sent to be assessed for corrective training and had been found suitable for the stint.

Took cash, cashcard away from station

On 30 October last year, Tan commenced work at the Shell petrol station and was assigned cashier duties. He was also tasked with pumping petrol.

During his shift, the cash register would automatically eject should the money had exceeded a certain amount. Tan was supposed to put away the excess money in a safe in the storeroom, but he did not do so. Instead, he slipped $1,500 into the back of his shirt and left with the stolen cash after his shift. His actions were captured by CCTV cameras in the store.

On the same day, Tan also took a cashcard belonging to his company and effected a $495 top-up on the cashcard via the point-of-sales system by using the company’s merchant card. He took the cashcard with him when he left.

At about 9.20 pm that day, Tan called the franchise manager of the petrol station and admitted to taking two cashcards from the company to effect a top-up of $590. He used the money to pay off debts.

When the franchise manager of the petrol station called Tan about the missing cash at about 10pm that day, Tan admitted to the theft, saying he used it to pay off his debts.

No restitution was made to Shell.

Jailed for similar offences in 2003, 2004

Tan was previously jailed for similar offences in 2003 and 2004, and had been given corrective training in 2012 for criminal breach of trust.

The prosecution submitted for 20 to 24 months’ jail, calling Tan a “habitual offender”.

District Judge Janet Wang said that ordinarily, Tan would be considered for corrective training and preventive detention. Corrective training lasts between five and 14 years, while preventive detention spans from seven to 20 years.

Tan’s recalcitrance called for specific deterrence, she added.

However, the court was minded to grant Tan a “final opportunity” to live in a more responsible manner, DJ Wang said.

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