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PHV driver sentenced to jail for keeping passenger's laptop, sending it for factory reset

PHV driver sentenced to jail for keeping passenger's laptop, sending it for factory reset
PHOTO: Unsplash

SINGAPORE — A private-hire driver took a laptop that a passenger accidentally left behind and lied that he had not seen it.

Riduan Chumadi, who was a Grab driver at the time, sent the laptop for a factory reset, causing all data in the device — including two years of work-related information — to be deleted.

The victim, a 42-year-old bank employee, told investigators that her daily work would be impaired for the next six months to a year.

Riduan, 46, was sentenced to a week in jail on May 24 after he pleaded guilty to one count of dishonestly misappropriating the device.

The incident happened on Oct 18, 2023, when the victim left her office in Marina Boulevard at around 1.45pm and boarded Riduan's car.

State Prosecuting Officer (SPO) Lam Peng Choy said the woman accidentally left her laptop worth $3,000 inside the vehicle when she alighted around 15 minutes later at Raffles Hospital in North Bridge Road. 

Riduan picked up another passenger, who found the device and handed it to Riduan.

SPO Lam told the court: "The accused decided to dishonestly misappropriate the laptop and… kept it in the boot of the car.

"The accused knew that the laptop belonged to an earlier passenger but made no efforts to trace its rightful owner, as he had no intention to return the same (device) or turn it over to any authority."

The victim realised that the device was missing at around 3.30pm after her medical appointment at the hospital and tried to contact Riduan twice, but he declined her calls.

After she contacted Grab, Riduan lied that he had not seen the laptop in his car, prompting the woman to make a police report.

On Oct 23, 2023, Riduan took the laptop to Sim Lim Square shopping mall to put it through a factory reset, and was caught soon after.

Court documents did not state if he intended to sell it or keep it for himself.

The laptop was recovered and returned to the victim. By then, all information stored in it was already lost.

The SPO said: "The victim could not refer to past projects… to complete her work more efficiently, and also could not make reference (to) the past projects in order to pitch new projects to customers."

The Straits Times has reached out to Grab for its comment on the case.

For dishonest misappropriation of property, an offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined.

ALSO READ: Man arrested for allegedly stealing more than $100k from fellow passenger on flight to Singapore

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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