Two truly unique Singapore mysteries

I’m baffled by two very Singaporean mysteries after reading two court stories in the Dec 16 copy of the Straits Times (I’m a late-ST reader as I depend on the goodwill of my nephew who passes me his old copies, as n when he brings them over to my place).

The first mystery concerns Goh Eng Leng who fled SG to China in 2003 after cheating someone of $24K. He remained a fugitive in China till his funds ran out and his SG passport had expired.

So he altered his passport and then let it be revealed to the Chinese authorities that he had breached SG laws, so that he would be repatriated to S’pore and face the music here, instead of being punished in China for overstaying.

He was duly jailed by the Singapore courts: 6 months for the passport offence and 9 months for cheating.

Nothing mysterious about this so far.

The true mystery is how Goh managed to be a taxi driver — as revealed by his lawyer Subhas Anandan — between the time of his repatriation, arrest and charged in court and the time when he was finally tried?

It’s not a few days or months leh — but between January 2010 and this month.

What were our taxi licensing authorities thinking of to give someone a taxi licence when that someone is strongly suspected of being a criminal? What protection is there for innocent passengers?

I know a man is presumed innocent till proven guilty but in something which entails the safety of innocent parties, shouldn’t there be some categories of employment that are closed to those awaiting trial?

The second mystery relates to Tan Yoke Lan who was given 12 years’ worth of preventive detention for stealing $4,000 from 11 elderly men. She had already served 11 years for similar crimes.

I’m surprised there is no outcry against the stiffness of her punishment.

Sure, she preyed on old folks.  Sure, she’s probably a hardened criminal.

But look, her haul was all of $4,000. 🙄

Compare her punishment to that meted out to those who cheated the Singapore Land Authority of $12.2 million!! The accomplices were jailed for 3, 10, 15 and 22 years respectively, making an average of 12.5 years. As the stat board is said to have recovered $9 million of the loot, it means the culprits are paying for the $3 million they got away with.

So it’s 12.5 years for $750,000 on average. While for Tan Yoke Lan it’s 12 years for $4,000.

Now, tell me whether this isn’t a uniquely Singaporean mystery? 😆


8 thoughts on “Two truly unique Singapore mysteries

  1. Times like this, I am glad I was not accepted into Law school. Having said that, am sure it is not uniquely Singapore…

    (in a single comment, used 2 of my favourite weird phrases!)

  2. Pei, what a treat to see you here!

    weird phrases? Times like this? In a single comment? U are as usual enigmatic in your phraseology.

    In times like this, every accountant I know is telling the next generation, never to be an accountant. In fact all the card-carrying CPAs I know aren’t really practising fully as such.

    This n your comment abt law makes me wonder whether in another generation all our legal beagles n bean counters won’t be foreign imports? 🙄 🙄

    The sentences I referred to may not b unique to SG but since SGers are so keen to adopt foreign norms, I wonder why our social activists are keeping so quiet? Especially Aware for Tan Yoke Lan! 🙄 🙄 🙄

  3. I think the amount of money is one of the consideration but hardcore repeat offenders are often treated most harshly but law (not only ours). For first offenders, they are given an implicit opportunity to turn over a new leave. Those who placed in position of trust but still flout the law, policemen, civil servants etc, are also treated harshly. But they are also humans aren’t they?

    Just some thoughts. =)

  4. Quirky, I guess there’s no such thing as true justice since so many things are conditional and depend on the luck of the draw. When i was a very young, rape in the US was a capital crime and they hanged you high. Today, even mass murderers can get away — depending which state you are in of cos.

    Unbranded: I understand corrective detention for gang bosses etc But the poor woman who took small sums off old men? Sure she’s a repeat offender but she isn’t exactly dangerous. It’s not as if she robbed the old codgers at knife point. She just hugged them. Worse, I heard on the news tonite that a man has been jailed a year for stealing $38 from a mosque — to feed his family which includes a handicapped mum. Is this justice? Shldn’t “corrective detention” be applied to those who allow such appalling social circumstances to exist in wealthy SG and thus make it necessary to rob in order not to starve? Shame on our legal system — for these two cases! 😦

  5. Pingback: Another legal “mystery” | FOOD fuels me to talk…

  6. “Shldn’t “corrective detention” be applied to those who allow such appalling social circumstances to exist in wealthy SG and thus make it necessary to rob in order not to starve? Shame on our legal system — for these two cases!”. Quoting Auntielucia.

    Just like to say me finds the above conclusion most reasonable.


  7. Pingback: What are our courts saying? | FOOD fuels me to talk…

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