Bulldozing Benz driver charged

ALL SMILES BEFORE HE'S CHARGED: Tan arriving for his day in court yesterday. He was charged with vandalism for allegedly damaging a cat-claw security barrier at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Saturday, among other charges.

SINGAPORE - A Malaysian driver, who allegedly breached a security barrier with his gold Mercedes-Benz sedan at Woodlands Checkpoint, was yesterday charged in court.

Tan Chu Seng, 64, who is also a Singapore permanent resident, was charged with vandalism for allegedly damaging the cat-claw security barrier, meant to stop unauthorised vehicles from entering Singapore.

He is also accused of committing a rash act, and "recklessly" causing injury to auxiliary police officer Safie Mahrom, who attempted to stop him from leaving.

Both these offences were said to have taken place at about 4pm on Saturday, when he was alleged to have deliberately drove off when he was asked to open his spare tyre compartment during a Customs check. The Singapore- registered vehicle then crashed through the cat-claw and entered Singapore.

He was arrested five hours later.

Tan smiled when his photographs were taken when he arrived at the State Courts yesterday, but was expressionless when he stood in the dock.

The prosecution made a request for Tan to be remanded for a week, with permission to take him out for investigations.

Tan asked for four days of remand, citing hypertension, urine acid and diabetes as reasons, but District Judge Eddy Tham rejected his request, asking him to bring up these conditions with investigating officers.

Tan will be remanded for a week.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Sunday that it was the first time the barrier had failed, and that it is working with the vendor to conduct "detailed investigations" into the incident.

The latest breach comes barely two months after a similar incident involving Malaysian teacher Nurul Rohana Ishak, 27.

On Jan 17, she slipped past immigration officers at Woodlands Checkpoint.

She was arrested three days later and faces charges, including that of criminal trespass.

As a result of the incident, police and ICA will be conducting more frequent drills and joint exercises at the land checkpoints, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said in Parliament last month.


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