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Tan [Pic: Straits Times]

Woodlands checkpoint breach – man given 10 months jail

Tan [Pic: Straits Times]
Tan [Pic: Straits Times]
64-year old Malaysian and Singapore permanent resident (PR), Tan Chu Seng, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for breaching the Woodlands immigration checkpoint in March.

Tan, who pleaded guilty in August to five of seven charges, was sentenced in court on Friday.

He was also fined S$1,400 for mischief and several other offences, including selling duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Additionally, he was ordered to pay $2,800 for damages caused to “cat claws” barriers when he ran through the checkpoint.

Tam, who was driving a Mercedes Benz when the incident happened, had drove off and hit a safety cone, and subsequently sped off. He had also hit a police officer and had rammed his car into the cat claws which are meant to stop cars in their tracks.

Tan surrendered to the police on the same evening.

In court, Tan’s lawyer pleaded for leniency, explaining that his client had been late in delivering tailored suits to hi customers in Singapore. Tan was also hungry and was thus anxious to complete the errand.

However, after the Deputy Public Prosecutor said Tan’s actions were “highly deliberate”, and that his behaviour showed total disregard for authority and had also caused injury to an officer and damage to government property, judge Ng Peng Hong said that the courts needed to send a “strong message” that anyone evading or ignoring security and Customs check will be dealt with harshly.

Tan’s border breach was one of several at the time, between January and April this year.

There were three other instances where the perpetrators were arrested and charged with the offences, and were given jail sentences of between six to eight weeks, with one of them, a teacher who was later found to be mentally ill, given a conditional warning.

More recently, in September, three individuals were arrested for sneaking into Singapore to abduct a two-year boy who is involved in a custody battle in London between a Singaporean man and his foreigner wife.

The 30-year old woman, who had been given custody of the boy by a London court, had sought the help of an international child recovery agency to help abduct her son from his grandparents who were living in Singapore.

The three individuals – the mother, 38-year old Briton Adam Whittington who is the managing director of the child recovery agency and a former Scotland Yard detective  , and Australian Todd Allan Wilson, 39 – had chartered a catamaran in Langkawi, Malaysia, landed at Singapore’s Raffles Marina and evaded immigration officers.

The trio then proceeded to the condominium where the boy was staying with the grandparents, and attempted to snatch the boy.

An altercation ensued where the boy’s grandparents were physically manhandled, with the grandmother injured in the process.

The trio were arrested the next day.

The mother was sentenced to 10 weeks jail, while Whittington was given 16 weeks and Allan 10 weeks.

The series of intrusions has once again raised concerns of Singapore’s border security, with the authorities pledging to tighten checkpoints and Customs control since these incidences.