SINGAPORE — A fugitive on the run from the Singapore authorities for 13 years was caught when he tried to use another man’s identity card at a hospital, a court heard.
The owner of the IC had lost the card many years before. He serendipitously saw James Nalla Rajan Naidu Adhiseshan, 58, handing over a photocopy of the IC at the registration counter of Sengkang General Hospital (SKGH) in February after helping Naidu, who was in a wheelchair, to register a queue number.
The theft victim, Chandran Sinathanmby, did not know Naidu, who was hiding from the authorities for slashing a newspaper vendor’s neck in 2006. Naidu had pasted a slip of paper with his own address over Chandran’s address on the IC.
It was not stated in court documents if Naidu had altered the photo on the IC.
At the State Courts on Tuesday (25 June), Naidu was jailed for one-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to two charges of cheating by personation and one count of causing hurt with a weapon.
Four other charges - one of attempted cheating by personation, two of cheating by personation and one of causing grievous hurt with a weapon - were considered in his sentencing.
On 18 February, Chandran got a text message informing him about an upcoming appointment at SKGH at 9am on 25 February.
Chandran, who had an upcoming appointment at Changi General Hospital (CGH), assumed that his appointment had been rescheduled and proceeded to go to SKGH as instructed in the message.
At the hospital, a doctor asked him about a foot fracture. But Chandran did not have the injury and had never visited SKGH before. The doctor realised something was amiss and advised Chandran to make a police report.
Chandran went to a police station and he was advised to retrieve his medical records that were in his name before making a police report. He went back to the hospital.
At about 10.25am at SKGH, Chandran saw Naidu in a wheelchair and offered to help him with his registration.
Naidu scanned a photocopy of an IC at an electronic kiosk to get a queue number. When Naidu’s number was called, Chandran helped push his wheelchair to the registration counter.
Naidu then handed over the photocopy of the IC to a senior patient associate. But Chandran saw the paper and realised that it was actually a photocopy of his IC. He told the patient associate about this and she called the police.
It was not the first time that Naidu had pretended to be Chandran.
On 14, 15 and 22 August 2017, Naidu visited Sengkang Polyclinic using Chandran’s IC for various ailments, a blood test, and a follow-up review. The polyclinic rendered him medical services amounting to $95.10.
At the follow-up review on 22 August, Naidu was given a referral to CGH for an abnormal liver function test.
CGH conducted a check on Chandran and realised that he was a prison inmate at the time. The hospital informed the polyclinic about this.
Sengkang Polyclinic also conducted a check with the prison medical service, which confirmed that Chandran was serving a prison sentence since 4 May 2016. A polyclinic staff then made a police report about the matter.
On 12 November 2017, Naidu was sent to SGH for breathing difficulties after the battery of his e-bike caught fire and emitted smoke at home.
He produced a photocopy of Chandran’s IC for registration. Naidu was warded for one night and left SGH without paying his medical bills.
SGH tried to contact Naidu about his unpaid bills but was unsuccessful.
Slashed newspaper vendor’s neck
Naidu was arrested in 2006 for assault but absconded before he could be charged in court.
On 28 January 2006, Naidu and his friend entered a 7-Eleven store in Depot Road.
Naidu, who was reeking of alcohol, asked newspaper vendor Devakumar Gopal Kri which secret society gang he belonged to. When the victim said he did not belong to any gang, Naidu challenged him to a fight.
The victim ignored him and left the store. But Naidu followed him and continued to challenge him to a fight.
While the victim and his father were loading newspapers onto their lorry, Naidu used a sharp blade which he had taken out of his wallet to slash the victim’s neck, leaving a 10cm cut. Naidu fled after the victim’s brother came to his aid.
For each of his cheating by personation charges, Naidu could have been jailed for up to five years and fined.
The maximum penalty for causing hurt with a weapon is up to seven years’ jail along with a fine and caning for male offenders below 50.
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