Smuggler drives over officer's foot again & again

SINGAPORE - The pain must have been unbearable.

Each time the tyre ran over his foot, it would have been excruciating.

But that pain the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer went through was of no consequence to cigarette smuggler Khairun Nizar Isnin.

He was determined to evade arrest and nothing was going to stop him: He ran his van over the officer's foot repeatedly while ramming the ICA vehicle blocking his way.

Khairun escaped, but was caught the next day.

Yesterday, Khairun, 33, was sentenced to five years and three months' jail on five charges, including voluntarily causing grievous hurt and the storing of duty-unpaid goods.

He was also given three strokes off the cane, fined $2,000 and disqualified from driving for three years.

The incident took place on Oct 29 last year.

A group of ICA officers on an enforcement mission found Khairun in a Jurong East carpark.

He was in a green Mitsubushi van that he had rented and changed the licence plates.

Two officers alighted from one car and immediately identified themselves. They instructed Khairun not to drive out of the parking lot.

The officers had also parked their car in front of Khairun's van to block his escape.

But Khairun refused to switch off his engine and moved his van forwards and backwards in a bid to shake off the officers.

Another officer joined the two others. All then used their batons to shatter the windows of the van and a rear view mirror.

METAL ROD

One even tried to reach into the car to remove the ignition key.

When Khairun saw this, he took a 60cm-long black metal rod from inside the van and swung it at the officer.

He hit the officer's right forearm, causing an open fracture on the arm.

The other officer tried to open the door on the passenger's side.

Unfazed, Khairun repeatedly moved the van back and forth, still hoping to make his escape.

In the process of ramming the ICA car, Khairun ran over the officer's right foot multiple times.

The officer's foot was stuck beneath the left front wheel, causing him to fall and land on his left knee.

He had bruises on his right foot and left knee.

Khairun managed to get away but he was arrested the next day at Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 with contraband cigarettes.

Investigations revealed that Khairun was hired by another Singaporean, Oh Thiam Huat, also known as Xiao Cai.

Khairun was to work for a syndicate by delivering duty-unpaid cigarettes using a van.

In return, he would receive $450 in cash and around 20 to 25 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes for each day he works.

To store the illegal cigarettes, Khairun hatched a plan with Oh.

They tricked Khairun's father into registering a new company at International Plaza so that they could rent a warehouse.

Oh provided Khairun's father with a cash incentive of $500, so he agreed.

The warehouse was then used to store more than 5,200 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

According to court papers, excise duty on the cigarettes, which weighed 1,070 kg, amounted to nearly $377,000.

Khairun's lawyer Kea Cheng Han told the court in mitigation that his client was a paid lackey and that he committed the crime to support his family, who have health and money problems.

WHAT HAPPENED

Two ICA officers stop their car right in front of illegal cigarette smuggler Khairun Nizar Isnin's van to block it. The officers get out and ask Khairun not to drive off.

But Khairun continues to move his van back and forth, ramming the ICA vehicle.

Officers smash his van window with their nightsticks. One officer reaches in to grab the ignition key. Khairun uses a black metal rod and hits the officer's right arm.

As he continues to ram the ICA vehicle, one officer's right foot becomes stuck beneath the front wheel.

Khairun runs over it several times before escaping.

djenn@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 16 in The New Paper.Get The New Paper for more stories.