“You are stupid.” That was what Gurcharan Singh told the operator when he called the police emergency hotline one night in June this year.
This was not the first time he had called the police hotline while intoxicated. The 61-year-old began making prank phone calls to the police in 2000 and had been on remission for a previous jail term when he reoffended.
At the State Courts on Thursday (6 September), Singh was jailed three years on multiple counts of calling the police hotline with the intent to abuse or annoy the operator and one count under the Telecommunications Act for transmitting a false message.
The false message related to an incident during which he told the operator he had placed “dynamite” at a particular location. Twelve other counts of a similar nature were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Singh was also sentenced to an additional 66 days’ jail for offending while on remission.
Multiple prank calls to police hotline
The court heard that on 10 June, Singh drank a few cans of beer at the void deck of a HDB block in Chai Chee. At about 9.09pm, he called the “999” hotline from a public phone at the void deck, which was answered by police call operator Mohamad Suhaimi Ami.
As Suhaimi was not able to hear what Singh was saying, he advised Singh to call back. This was when Singh told the operator, “You are stupid”.
When asked what emergency he was reporting on, Singh replied “immigration… and the… the permit all issuing of… Malaysian one… all these corruption one”. He added that he had also “put one dynamite to the immigration house”.
Singh also used expletives during the conversation, which lasted about two minutes and 10 seconds.
After the call, Singh continued drinking. At about 9.40pm, he made a second call to the police hotline from a public phone, which was picked up by a different operator.
He again expressed his unhappiness with the immigration authorities and told the operator, “You are scare to see me… you got balls to see me not.” The second call lasted about six minutes.
Operators recognised Singh as he had previously called the emergency hotline. They alerted their supervisor to the calls and managed to identify Singh’s location.
Police officers dispatched to the site caught Singh in the act of speaking to the operator over a public phone. Singh admitted to the offences and was arrested.
However, Singh repeated the act nine days later – again after consuming alcohol. This time, he made 15 calls to the emergency hotline on the same day but did not report any emergency.
According to the prosecution, Singh had been prank calling the police hotline since 2000. Among his many past convictions was a five-year corrective training sentence he received in 2008.
He was also slapped with a two-year jail term for the same crime in 2016 and was under a remission order when he committed his most recent offences.
In sentencing Singh, District Judge Eddy Tham said that his offences affected an essential public service.
For transmitting a false message, Singh could have been fined up to $10,000, jailed up to three years, or both. For calling an emergency telephone number with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person who answers the call, Singh could have been fined $10,000, jailed a maximum two years, or both.
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