SINGAPORE — Concerned for a friend who was suffering from cancer, a man offered to take a Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational License Test (PDVL) for him so that the friend could work as a private hire driver.
However, Ng Chai later reconsidered the offer as he had been banned from taking the test after he was caught taking the test for someone else previously.
Instead, Ng, 62, enlisted the help of another friend, Ho Yow Peng, to take the test on behalf of the ailing man, Tan Chai Meng.
Ho ended up failing the test. When asked by the tester why he looked so different from his NRIC license photo, Ho said that he was involved in a serious accident which led him to lose a lot of weight in two months.
Ng was jailed for four weeks on Thursday (17 December) on one count of abetting Ho to cheat by personation, which he pleaded guilty to. It is unclear if any legal action was taken against Tan and Ho.
The Singaporean man met Tan and Ho, aged 52 and 59, through a temple association at Geylang Road.
He came to know from Tan that the latter had been working as a lorry driver but could not work long hours due to the chemotherapy he was undergoing for stomach cancer.
Ng then suggested that Tan could work as a private car driver with Grab or Gojek, however Tan said he could not speak or write English to pass the PDVL test, which consisted of two theory papers. A driver would get a vocational license upon passing the test.
Ng suggested that he could take the test on Tan’s behalf. The latter agreed and booked a test slot on 2 January this year.
Later, Ng realised that he could not take the test on Tan’s behalf as he had earlier been banned after he was caught for the same offence.
Failed second test
He approached Ho to take the test on behalf of Tan instead. Ho agreed. On 2 January, armed with Tan’s personal documents, Ho proceeded to take the test. A specialist tester under TransportSG, who was invigilating the test, noticed that Ho looked different for the photographs he provided in his NRIC and driver’s license.
After asking her colleague to take a look, she proceeded to call Tan’s name, but Ho did not respond until the third time. He did not make eye contact and continued staring at his test on his electronic tablet. When questioned by the tester, Ho insisted he was Tan.
The tester later asked Ho to provide further documents with photo identification but Ho claimed that he did not have them on him.
He retuned later that day to take the second theory test with Tan’s ATM card and claimed that he still did not have photo ID on him. The tester then asked Ho for the address stated in Tan’s NRIC, and also called Tan’s phone, which Ho had with him at the time.
“The (tester) then asked Ho about the discrepancy between his current appearance and the photo in Tan’s NRIC. Ho stated that he was involved in a serious accident which resulted in him being hospitalised for two months and losing a large amount of weight,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Teong told the court.
Ho failed the second test. The tester took a photo of Ho with his consent for record purposes and advised him to bring other photo IDs for verification for a re-test on 7 January this year.
The next day, when Tan went to the booking counter to request for a printout of his PDVL test result in order to retake the second test, he was confronted by the tester’s colleague. A police report was then lodged.
Cheating by personation carries a jail term of up to five years, or a fine, or both.
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