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Man sentenced to 46 weeks imprisonment for bribing police officer and offence under OSA

The court has sentenced a dispatch driver, who bribed his police officer friend to obtain confidential police photographs, to 42 weeks' jail on Thursday (28 December).

Lim Sua Huat, 61, admitted to two counts of offering S$1,000 in bribes to former police officer Terence Lam Guo Long, 37 and was sentenced to nine months’ jail for the offence.

Lim also admitted to one count of an offence under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), which was receiving the confidential photos and was sentenced to a further six weeks’ jail.

The court heard that on 4 October 2015, Lam, who was then a Station Inspector with the Rochor Neighbourhood Police Centre, arrested 13 people in connection to a rioting incident.

Lam and his colleagues then took pictures of the 13 people using their own mobile phones.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhas Malhotra told the court that the photos were meant only for investigation purposes.

One of the 13 arrested, Pua Kok Siong, later told Lim’s boss, Goh Siong Kiat, about his arrest. Pua then asked Goh if he could help get a lighter, non-custodial sentence, knowing that the latter had connections with police officers.

Goh then tasked Lim to find out who the investigation officer was and was also given S$1,000 to "try to obtain leniency".

Lim then contacted Lam and asked him for photographs of the persons who were arrested.

The prosecutor stated that Lim said that the headman of one of the gangs involved in the fight wanted to see the photos of the arrested individuals so that he could kick the troublemakers out from his gang.

Lam then told Lim that he would not send the photographs, however, he was willing to show it to Lim on his phone. The men, who had been acquainted since 2008, then met at a coffeeshop in Little India.

Lam then told Lim at that meeting that he was unable to help Pua, saying that he was not the investigation officer. However, Lam showed Lim the pictures on his phone.

Two months later, Lim gave Lam S$500, which was meant to be a reward for allowing him to see the photographs.

On January 19 2016, Lim contacted Lam again and asked him to send the photographs of a selected few in the group.

This time, the police officer agreed and sent five photographs via WhatsApp and he was the received another S$500 later that day.

Lam was earlier sentenced to 34 weeks’ jail in August, and ordered to pay a penalty of S$1,000, for receiving the bribes.

The prosecutor said on Thursday that his “egregious” offences had the “tendency to undermine the incorruptibility of public servants” and urged the court to impose a jail sentence of 11 months for Lim.

He said that Lim's offences were meant to pervert the course of justice by undermining the ongoing investigations," adding that Lim was the "driving force" behind the offences.

The prosecutor also said that the notion that those with connections to police officers, or investigation officers can get off with a lighter sentence is insidious and must not be allowed to take seed in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Defence lawyer Luke Lee urged the court to impose a five-month jail sentence for his client’s corruption offences and a fine for the OSA offence.

In sentencing, District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed with the prosecution that Lim’s conduct had the intention of corrupting law and order.

The judge granted Lim’s application to commence his sentence after Chinese New Year on 27 February next year and bail was offered at S$20,000.

Both Lim and Lam were part of a group of five charged with corruption and violating the OSA in June this year. The other three, whose cases are unrelated to Lim’s and Lam’s, are still being dealt with.