Some fugitives settle down overseas

SINGAPORE - Some fugitives use another person's passport to get out of the country, or smuggle themselves into Malaysia and get fake documents from there.

Lawyer Subhas Anandan, who has represented fugitives like loanshark king Chua Tiong Tiong, also known as Ah Long San, told The New Paper this.

Said Mr Anandan: "Some have contacts in the country they go to, even people in the same boat as them. There's quite a community (of fugitives) in Malaysia and Thailand."

A Ministry of Law spokesman said Singapore has extradition arrangements with over 40 countries, including the US, Malaysia, Germany and Australia.

Mr Anandan said he was once in a Bangkok nightclub with a client when some men came up to shake hands.

"I was surprised as this is Bangkok; how come they seemed to know me? My client said, 'They are paying their respects because they know sooner or later, they will need your services.'"

True enough, one of the men was brought back a few months later and charged with murder.

Psychiatrist Tommy Tan, who has examined several fugitives, said whether or not a person returns can depend on whether he is rooted in other countries.

One-eyed Dragon

For example, former triad leader Tan Chor Jin - better known by his nickname One-eyed Dragon - whom he examined, had settled well in Malaysia and had two families there.

"I don't think he would have come back if he had not been arrested," said Dr Tan.

Initially, fugitives also tend to harbour the fear of being arrested and guilt about their actions, said lawyer Harold Seet, who has represented fugitives like Neo Yeng Kwang, who was jailed in 2011 for causing hurt and housebreaking after being on the run for 18 years.

But some have done well, finding jobs and even starting their own businesses, said Mr Anandan and Dr Tan.

But running away from justice is never the answer. Mr Anandan added that he warns clients on bail that if they turn fugitive, their bailors will lose money. Moreover, the fugitive life is not a bed of roses and if caught, their punishment will be more severe.

"But of course, no one consults their lawyer before running," he said.

Caught and brought back

July 2012

Eng Bak Siong, 59

Eng, who was wanted for a 2001 murder in Toa Payoh, was arrested in Malaysia, brought back to Singapore and charged. He faces the death penalty.

Iskandar Rahmat, 34

The former police officer fled to Johor Baru after allegedly killing father-son pair Tan Boon Sin, 67, and Tan Chee Heong, 42.

He was caught in JB 54 hours later. He was charged with both murders and has claimed trial

April 2009

Mas Selamat Kastari, 52

The Jemaah Islamiah leader who was hiding in a Johor village of about 100 people, was recaptured. Mas Selamat, who was detained here under the Internal Security Act, had escaped from the Whitley Road detention facility through an unsecured toilet window in February 2008.

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