Man charged with trying to evade immigration clearance

Man charged with trying to evade immigration clearance

SINGAPORE - A Malaysian motorist was charged yesterday with trying to evade immigration clearance at Woodlands Checkpoint on Sunday by tailgating a car.

The latest case is the third reported attempt at breaching the checkpoint this year.

The cases were raised in Parliament yesterday, as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean sought to assure members of the House that the Government is committed to ensuring the security of Singapore's borders.

Among measures that have been introduced are daily inspections of the security barriers.

A "cat claw" barrier failed to stop Tan Chu Seng, 64, from driving through it last month, sparking a five-hour manhunt.

DPM Teo, who is also the Minister for Home Affairs, revealed yesterday that hydraulic fluid had leaked from one of the cylinder seals for raising and maintaining the cat claw's position.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is replacing hydraulic components in all its security barriers, he said, adding that Sunday's incident shows that tight checks are required on both sides of the border.

Koh Chin Had (above), a 42-year-old hawker from Johor Baru, allegedly tried to enter Singapore illegally on Sunday by tailgating the car in front of him.

He was said to be alone and had no travel documents on him. Koh arrived at the checkpoint in his Perodua Kembara at 12.20pm. As he tried to bypass immigration, an ICA officer sounded an alarm.

The arrival car zone was locked down, trapping the car.

Unrepresented in court yesterday, Koh said he intends to plead guilty to one charge of failing to stop his car at the point of entry.

This carries a maximum penalty of a $2,000 fine and six months' jail. A second charge of failing to present a passport for clearance will be taken into consideration for sentencing. His guilty plea is scheduled to be taken today.

Unlike Koh, who was arrested immediately, teacher Nurul Rohana Ishak, 27, was arrested three days after entering Singapore on Jan 17.

Delivery driver Tan faces charges of committing a rash act for allegedly causing injury to an auxiliary police officer and vandalism for purportedly damaging the cat claw when he drove into it. His case was mentioned in court yesterday. A pre-trial conference was set for May 7.

waltsim@sph.com.sg

elena@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 15 in The Straits Times.

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