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The State Courts / photo: Terry Xu

61-yr-old cleaner sentenced three-years imprisonment for making calls to 999

A 61-year-old cleaner was jailed for three years on Thursday (6 September) after pleading guilty to five counts on making calls to an emergency telephone number, intending to annoy the operators and send false messages.

Twelve other similar counts were taken into consideration for his sentence.

Gurcharan Singh had faced the same matter several times since 2000. He made calls to emergency 999 and made bomb threats. However, he got himself into the same trouble again this year, while he was out on a remission order for his previous offences.

The court heard that the man called 999 on the evening of 10 June after drinking a few cans of beer earlier in the day, using a public phone at a void deck of a block of flats at Chai Chee Road.

The lasted about two minutes, in which when the operator advised him to call back using another phone as he could not hear him, Singh told him, “you are stupid”, as well as threatening the operator that he would “put one dynamite to the immigration house”.

He then went to buy another can of beer soon after making the call and drank it at the void deck of another block of flats.

Singh then gave another call to 999 using a public phone, expressing his unhappiness with the immigration authorities and told the operator he would like to meet him.

When the operator picked up the call, he realised that this was the man who previously called 999 and alerted his supervisor right away.

Singh was caught by the police that night and was later released on bail.

However, another nine days passed and the man continued to do the same menace by calling 999 a total of 15 times on 19 June from the same public phone in Chai Chee after drinking some beer.

During the call, the man asked the operator if immigration officers were “alert with their job”, saying that he did not have any emergency when asked and requested to leave his number for an immigration officer to call him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Daphne Lim asked for 45 months’ jail, calling Singh a recalcitrant offender who had an alcohol problem and saying that as he had used a public phone, “resources had to be extended to track who the caller was”.

District Judge Eddy Tham, however, noted that Singh was enrolled in a National Addictions Management Service (Nams) programme for eight months in 2013 to deal with his drinking problem.

Singh was jailed for 20 months in 2013 and two years in 2016. He was out on a remission order when he committed his most recent offences.

The man also went through five years of corrective training in 2008, which is a harsher form of imprisonment, as the offender is unlikely to be given early release for factors such as good behaviour.

During sentencing, District Judge Tham told Singh, who was unrepresented, that his brief stint in Nams “offered a glimpse of hope”.

However, the judge stated that he needed to make the first move to address his alcoholism.

“These offences, committed in an intoxicated state, are serious because you affected a vital public service. Despite long incarceration, it has not made any significant difference,” he said.