Man jailed for import of replica weapons

Man jailed for import of replica weapons

SINGAPORE - In April last year, retiree Lee Chee Kum was jailed for six weeks after he accidentally shot a neighbour with an air rifle in 2012.

He was also fined $5,000 for possessing an arsenal of illegal weapons, including the air rifle.

Yesterday, the 52-year-old was again jailed, this time for two weeks, for importing 15 replica weapons and various accessories less than a year after the earlier convictions. Air guns are not allowed here without a licence issued by the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department.

The court heard that Lee brought in the items - including twelve guns and three rifles - after trips to Bangkok, Thailand, on Sept 17 and Oct 12 last year.

He was found out on the second occasion, when an immigration officer checked Lee's luggage and discovered the items.

Lee was arrested on Oct 12. Acting on a hunch, police then questioned him over three air rifles that had been discovered at the bottom of Upper Seletar Reservoir the same day.

Further investigations revealed that Lee had managed to bring those guns through immigration, but his brother threw them into the water to make good on a promise to dispose of any illegal guns that Lee bought.

In sentencing Lee, District Judge Lee Poh Choo said she believed the guns had not been kept under lock and key, and could have fallen into the wrong hands - a risk well illustrated by how Lee's brother was able to remove them from the accused's home.

Lee, who went through a divorce 10 years ago and lives with his mother, had been diagnosed with "depressive state and... obsession" over air guns.

He has been seeking medical help since 2012, say court documents.

He will begin serving his sentence in a week's time, after his request for time to settle personal matters was granted.

When approached after the hearing, Lee's brother, Mr Lee Chee Woh, requested privacy, saying his brother was tired after the case and needed to rest.

Lee, who pleaded guilty, could have been jailed for up to three years and fined up to $10,000 for each of the two charges.

This article was first published on October 9, 2014.
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