S'porean accused of bribing Malaysia civil servant blows his top outside court

S'porean accused of bribing Malaysia civil servant blows his top outside court
Mr Tan Choon Kiat, who threatened to punch journalists gathered outside the court.

JOHOR BARU - A Singaporean bus driver accused of bribing a civil servant caused a commotion outside the Sessions Court here when he screamed vulgarities at journalists.

Tan Choon Kiat (pic), 39, was being led into the courtroom and was covering his face with a slingbag in an attempt to prevent press photographers from taking his picture when he started shouting.

He also threatened to punch the pressmen while his wife, who was not identified, scolded a cameraman for hitting her while trying to photograph her husband.

The fracas ended after Tan entered the courtroom.

He later pleaded guilty to the charge and was slapped with a RM20,000 (S$7800) fine, in default six months imprisonment, and a one-day jail term.

He admitted to handing S$1,250 (RM3,215.78) in cash to Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) enforcement officer Asmadi Mat at the Temp­tation Pastry Cafe in Taman Daya here at about 4.10pm on May 7 last year.

The bribe was an inducement for the officer to release a tour bus that had been impounded by the commission.

According to the facts of the case, Asmadi explained to Tan that SPAD could not release the bus just by issuing a compound because the case involved three different offences, requiring the matter to be forwarded to court for further action.

The driver, who was accompanied by a man known only as Shahibol, then took out the money from a slingbag and passed it under the table to Asmadi.

Tan had then told Asmadi that the cash was in Singapore dollars and worth about RM3,000, and again asked him to release the vehicle and close the case.

At that moment, a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officer walked up and identified himself before arresting Tan and Shahibol.

Shahibol was not charged.

In mitigation before Judge Mohamad Haldar Abdul Aziz, Tan pleaded for a lighter sentence telling the court that he had been asked by the bus company agent to hand the money to the SPAD officer.

DPP Abdul Ghafar Abd Latif, prosecuting, said the sentence should be a lesson on Malaysian anti-bribery laws.

Tan, who was not represented, paid the fine.

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