Woodlands checkpoint vehicle dash: Man charged with vandalism, acting rashly

Armed policemen stand guard in Singapore, on July 18, 2012. A British magazine editor has been fined $8,000 for spitting at a Singapore police officer after an alcohol-fuelled Christmas party last year, his lawyer told AFP
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[UPDATE on Tuesday, 18 March at 4:5pm: Adding details about man being remanded]

A 64-year-old man accused of dashing through the Woodlands checkpoint with his vehicle has been remanded to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

Last week, the man was charged with vandalism and acting rashly, after his car went over a partially raised clearance barrier at the Woodlands Checkpoint earlier this month.

According to Channel NewsAsia, Singapore permanent resident Tan Chu Seng, a Malaysian, was slapped with two charges altogether. Both offences he was charged for were committed at 4:03pm at the checkpoint on Saturday, as he was entering Singapore from Malaysia.

Tan, who allegedly drove his Singapore-registered gold Mercedes Benz through the arrival car channel while trying to escape officer checks, also is said to have caused hurt to an officer named Safie Mahrom, CNA reported.

He also is charged with driving onto the cat-claw security barrier and out of the checkpoint area, hence damaging government property.

For his actions relating to the first charge, he could be jailed for up to a year and fined a maximum of $5,000. For vandalism through damage to the security barrier, he could receive a three-year jail term or a maximum $2,000 fine.

In a post late Saturday night on their Facebook page, Singapore police said that while undergoing customs check at about 4:05 pm, a Singapore-registered vehicle "deliberately drove off, injuring an officer who attempted to stop him from leaving".

The vehicle then crashed through the security barrier that was activated, they said.

Police resources on the ground were informed and an alert message was disseminated to all taxi drivers to help police look for the vehicle.

Police recovered Tan's car at 8:30pm and arrested him at 9:15pm, they said on Saturday.

A video of what appears to be the incident was uploaded on Facebook by user Decipher Means Analysisofdancemoves. The authenticity of the video, however, was not verified, and it was later taken down by the user.

Another version was re-uploaded by website The Real Singapore to its Facebook page, viewable above.

This is the second incident this year of a vehicle coming from Malaysia getting through the Woodlands checkpoint.

A 28-year-old woman from Kedah, Nurul Ruhana Binti Ishak, was charged on 22 January in Singapore with criminal trespass.

She tailgated her way through the Woodlands checkpoint and managed to leave without being stopped, as the officers-in-charge did not immediately raise the alarm.  By the time the alarm was raised 2 minutes later and the arrival car zone was locked down, she had already left.

Despite a police islandwide advisory to look out for the woman and her car, she was only arrested three days later.

Two ground commanders who  failed to stop the Malaysian teacher from entering Singapore illegally through the Woodlands checkpoint and their supervising officers overseeing operations face disciplinary action.

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