Drink driver offered firefighter $1,000 to hush up accident

SINGAPORE - A drink driver offered a $1,000 note to a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) sergeant to try to hush up his part in an accident in June last year and even tried to get the taxi driver involved to play along.

On Tuesday, 50-year-old Goh Choon Hee, the sole proprietor of a firm that offers apartments for rent, pleaded guilty to offering money to induce the sergeant not to report him for a traffic offence.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue asked for a jail term of at least three months for Goh, who will be sentenced today.

A court heard on Tuesday that Goh was intoxicated when his Honda Civic car collided head-on with a taxi at the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Hougang Avenue 2 at 10pm on June 20 last year.

Sergeant Samuel Anandaraj Anthonyraj, an SCDF firefighter who was on duty and on his way to a fire station, happened to be at the accident scene and went to help.

He contacted the SCDF operations room to ask for police backup and was attending to taxi driver Loy Chee Kah, 60, when he saw Goh about to drive away.

Sgt Samuel, 28, signalled for him to stop.

Goh wound down the window and pleaded with the firefighter to let him leave immediately.

But the sergeant asked him to step out of the car on suspicion of drink driving.

Goh walked around unsteadily while complaining he could not afford to have his driving licence revoked as he needs to travel extensively to collect rentals.

The accused then retrieved his wallet from the car and showed Sgt Samuel a $1,000 note.

He also made hand signals to indicate that the firefighter should let him leave immediately.

When his request was declined, Goh tried to offer Mr Loy $1,000 for the damage to his taxi.

He also told the cabby that he intended to offer $2,000 to Sgt Samuel to allow the accident to be settled privately. Mr Loy declined.

The police later arrived and made Goh take a breathalyser test, which showed he had 73 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, more than double the legal limit of 35 micrograms.

Goh tried to get rid of the $1,000 note by dropping it into the patrol car. But it was recovered by police officers.

The accused, represented by Mr A. Rajandran, could be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for up to five years.

He had been fined $5,000 and disqualified from driving for five years for drink driving and fined $800 for inconsiderate driving on Dec 12.

khush@sph.com.sg


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