Student who fished illegally at Sungei Buloh and assaulted NParks officer gets probation

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. (Photo: Getty Images)
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. (Photo: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A polytechnic student who was caught red-handed fishing illegally at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve assaulted a female NParks enforcement officer in a bid to get off the hook, a court heard.

At the State Courts on Thursday (25 July), Richard Tan Han Woon, 20, was put on 15 months of probation after he pleaded guilty to illegal fishing and causing hurt to a public servant.

On 8 July last year, an NParks enforcement officer, Rajendran Thanagayan, 56, saw Tan and three friends fishing with rods at the Visitor Centre Freshwater Pond, undeterred by the presence of multiple ‘No Fishing’ signs.

The enforcement officer had seen the quartet fishing at the same spot before and wanted to issue them with summon slips. His colleague Wilson Lim Chor Liang, 49, went to cover one of the two entrances to the pond, while Rajendran went to cover the other entrance with another colleague, Sri Sarasvathi, 37.

But the boys saw the enforcement officers and hastily packed their belongings before fleeing to the main road.

However, Tan’s fishing gear fell out of his bag. Lim managed to detain Tan by grabbing his arm. Rajendran and Sarasvathi joined Lim. All three officers showed Tan their NParks identification passes.

Tan asked for permission to collect his fishing gear and the officers allowed him to return to the pond. However, once he had finished packing his belongings, Tan tried to make a run for it.

He elbowed Sarasvathi on her left arm and left upper chest area forcefully.

Lim grabbed Tan’s hand while Sarasvathi grabbed his bag. But Tan managed to slip away and the three officers ran after him.

At the main road, Tan saw his three friends waiting for him. The four split up and ran in different directions, but the enforcement officers managed to detain one of Tan’s accomplices.

Tan was later identified and arrested by the police. He admitted to his crimes.

As part of his sentence, Tan will have to perform 100 hours of community service and also remain indoors from 10pm to 6am daily.

He could have been fined up to $5,000 for fishing illegally. The maximum punishment for causing hurt to a public servant is up to seven years’ jail, along with a fine and caning.

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