Securing Woodlands Checkpoint

Securing Woodlands Checkpoint
CAT'S CLAW: A lane-wide crash barrier like this failed as a last line of defence.

SINGAPORE - A 65-year-old man who drove off over a security barrier at Woodlands Checkpoint will be charged in court this morning.

The Malaysian, who is a Singapore permanent resident, had arrived in a Singapore-registered vehicle and cleared the immigration channel on Friday afternoon.

But when the gold-coloured Mercedes Benz sedan was undergoing a secondary check and when he was asked to open his spare tyre compartment, the man drove off.

Even though the vehicle hit the security barrier which had cat claws, he continued to accelerate and managed to drive over the barrier at 4.05pm.

At a press briefing last Sunday morning, chaired by Immigration & Checkpoints Authority's Deputy Commissioner Aw Kum Cheong and Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Lau Peet Meng, it was revealed that four other men have also been picked up to assist with investigations.

A package suspected to contain drugs was also recovered.

Here are some key questions and answers from the press briefing:

1. Why did it take the police five hours before the man was arrested?

Mr Lau: "Firstly, he is a known person, (so the police and ICA) had to establish who he is, where he lives, where he works. And at that point, we had to start to determine where he could have gone - could he have gone home? Could he have gone back to work? Could he have gone to other various places?

"Then there was the actual physical search that required time because he is mobile and he is moving around.

"There's quite a lot of places (he can) go to while he is trying to evade arrest. You must understand that this man already knows he has committed an offence, it's not like we are waiting to ambush him in a place he is unaware of.

"He is aware he is wanted, he is clearly trying to evade arrest, he is trying to find ways to get away from us.

"One important point to make is that this is a determined criminal, who deliberately evaded arrest, he evaded customs clearance and he's definitely running away."

2. Why wasn't there a police car to go after the man?

Mr Lau: To position a man to be waiting there (at all times) first of all is a resource issue. Secondly, we have always expected the crash-through barrier to stop the vehicle from going through. It is a fairly secure barrier that is used around the world.

"Honestly, putting a man and a police car and waiting for something like that is certainly not the best use of police resources."

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