“If I say I want to change, will you believe me?” Man finds hope, in and out of prison after 40 years


Last August, Poh Lim was released and placed under the mandatory aftercare scheme for ex-offenders at higher risk of recidivism; he was required to wear an electronic surveillance tag and observe a curfew for at least three months.

Up to that point, his record hasn’t been great: his shortest jail term reprieve was four months. The longest was a nine-year stretch between his mid-thirties and forties. The drugs always reeled him in.

But this time, the desire to stay clean is more intense than he’s ever felt before. At the age of 66, he owes a lifelong reparation to his 88-year-old mother who visited him every time in prison and begged him to change.

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Then there is forgiveness to be sought from his estranged adult sons, whom he can imagine in his dreams “only as little boys”. As age catches up with him, he is running out of time to rebuild a life shattered by temptation.

“It’s going to take a lot of effort,” he says stoically.

UKTN Insider got a taste of what this meant when we caught up with him nearly four months after his release. Over the course of two weeks, we learned how he tried to keep his vow – and why he might succeed in turning his life around this time, with the help of some angels.

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Around 7 am, Poh Lim gets ready to go to work. He chooses a blue shirt and light gray jeans that comfortably cover the GPS tracker strapped to his ankle. “It doesn’t really bother me,” he says. “But others may think otherwise Bah.”

Mom, with whom he shares a room, is awake. He hugs her gently. ‘Call me if you need anything hor‘ he says to her.

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