Man, 58, jailed 14 months over bogus calls to police hotline

Hannah Teoh
Senior Content Producer
(Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

A 58-year-old man was jailed 14 months on Monday (23 October) for making at least 30 bogus calls to the police emergency hotline.

Pay Kiaw Keng pleaded guilty at the State Courts to four charges under Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act and two charges under the Telecommunications Act. Twenty other charges were taken into consideration.

The court heard that between 17 March and 23 August this year, Pay made several calls to the police emergency hotline using either his mobile phone, a public phone or the land line in his Hougang home. During the calls, he would urge the police to visit his Hougang home to investigate various incidents, including alleged criminal activities.

Whenever police asked for more details, he would mumble and speak incoherently. On some occasions, Pay would even call the police hotlines several times to report the same incident.

Police resources were deployed in response to each of Pay’s calls. In one instance, he claimed that there were secret society activities taking place at Hougang Ave 1. On another occasion, he called the emergency hotline to ask, “Why you all call my brother?”

On 23 August, Pay also called the police claiming that there were drug-related activities taking place at Hougang Street 91. Officers despatched to the location met Pay and noticed that he seemed to be drunk. He then admitted that he had earlier consumed half a bottle of rice wine and five cans of beer.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Beverly Lim told the court that Pay had been previously convicted for sending false messages, and had been jailed a total of 39 weeks over two separate incidents in 2016.

DPP Lim asked for a total jail term of 14 months for all the charges. Pay, who was unrepresented, pleaded for leniency. He told the court that while in remand at the Institute of Mental Health, he had been advised by a psychologist to quit drinking.

“I am willing to heed the psychologist’s advice,” said Pay, adding that he also suffers from anaemia, which makes him prone to fainting. “I urge Your Honour to impose a lenient sentence so I can mend my ways,” he said.

District Judge Carol Ling sentenced Pay to eight months’ jail for the Telecommunications Act charges and six months’ jail for each of the charges under the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

The jail term for the Miscellaneous Offences Act will run consecutively, bringing his total jail term to 14 months. Pay’s sentence will be backdated to 25 August, when he was first placed in remand. DJ Ling told Pay, “After you are released, please do the necessary to help yourself.”

For making a phone call to an emergency number with the intention of annoying a person, Pay could have been fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to a year, or both. For transmitting a fabricated message, he could have been fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.

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