Recalcitrant drink driver who drove on East Coast Park cycling path jailed

(PHOTO: Getty Images)

Despite being disqualified from driving for an earlier drink driving offence, an intoxicated man drove his wife’s car onto the bicycle path at East Coast Park before parking it on a grass verge.

When apprehended by the police, 57-year-old Tan Siew Jing handed over a forged identification card, which he had obtained from Malaysia through an acquaintance.

At the State Courts on Tuesday (10 July), Tan was jailed five and a half months, fined $1,000 and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for six years. He had pleaded guilty to one count each of driving while under disqualification, driving a car without insurance coverage and using a forged document.

One count of taking his wife’s car without her consent and one of driving on the footway of East Coast Park were considered for his sentence. This was the third time Tan had been disqualified from driving.

At about 7pm on 25 September last year, Tan had taken his wife’s car without her knowledge and headed to a seafood restaurant at East Coast Park.

After dinner and drinks, Tan drove along East Coast Park’s service road and onto the cycling track. He then parked on a grass verge at around 10.15pm and had stepped out of his car when he was spotted by a Police Coast Guard officer who was patrolling the area. The officer noted that Tan reeked of alcohol.

Upon being stopped, Tan produced a forged Singapore Driving Licence bearing his brother’s name, which he had asked an acquaintance to procure for him from Malaysia in April last year.

Tan was arrested and escorted to a police station after failing a breathlyser test. While at the station, he underwent a fingerprint verification and confessed that the driving license was forged. He then provided his true particulars to the police officers.

Last year’s incident was not Tan’s only run-in with the law.

In 2014, he was sentenced to eight weeks’ jail, a $6,000 fine and disqualified from driving for three years in 2014 for offences including drink driving, driving without insurance and driving while under disqualification. Tan had also used his brother’s real identification card in that incident.

His disqualification period was still in effect when he was arrested for his most recent offence. Tan had also been convicted of drink driving earlier on 2 May 2013.

Citing Tan’s history of traffic offences, Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh asked for at least 22 weeks’ jail, a disqualification period of six years and a fine of $1,000.

The system of driving licenses is to ensure that the only people driving on the roads are authorised, said the DPP.

In mitigation, Tan’s lawyer Kelvin Lim said that Tan regretted his actions and had produced the fake license in a moment of folly and impulse. He added that Tan’s actions did not harm anyone.

As a repeat offender, Tan could have been jailed up to 12 months, and fined between $3,000 and $10,000 for drink driving.

For using a forged document for the purpose of cheating, he could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined. For driving without insurance, he could have been jailed up to three months and/or fined up to $1,000.

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