Man jailed for entering SAF protected area, claimed he went to pick pandan leaves

SINGAPORE: A person who entered a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) protected space, purportedly to conduct prayers or pick pandan leaves, was jailed for two months on Tuesday (Nov 30).

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Cheng Lee Meng, 62, pleaded responsible to one cost beneath the Infrastructure Protection Act of entering a protected space.

The court docket heard {that a} 2nd Warrant Officer with SAF was at Lim Chu Kang Road, Track 13 for a coaching operation at about 2.45pm on Sep 9, 2020 when he noticed Cheng driving a van up to a padlocked gate throughout from him.

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Cheng’s co-accused, 63-year-old Ng Kiong Hoe, alighted from the van and unlocked the gate, earlier than Cheng drove into the Track 9 military coaching floor.

The coaching floor is a protected space, with two signboards put up stating in 4 languages: “Protected Area. No admittance to unauthorised persons”.

The 2nd Warrant Officer rushed ahead to detain the 2 males. He requested Ng what he was doing on the protected space, however Ng didn’t reply.

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When he requested Cheng, Cheng initially mentioned he was a contractor assigned to conduct works there. However, the witness felt this was suspicious as he had been particularly briefed that there can be no works at Track 9 that day.

Cheng subsequent modified his account to declare that he had gone to Track 9 to conduct prayers. When the witness didn’t imagine this both, Cheng modified his causes to say he was there to pick pandan leaves.

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The witness requested Cheng how he obtained the important thing to the gate, and Cheng mentioned somebody had handed it to him, however refused to say who it was. The witness known as the police, and Cheng turned hostile, elevating his voice and gesturing on the witness.

The police quickly arrived and arrested each Cheng and Ng.

Both males instructed investigators that that they had gone to Track 9 to pick pandan leaves. Cheng had requested Ng to accompany him there that very same morning.

Cheng claimed that he had been entrusted a set of keys by the SAF across the yr 2000, when he operated a enterprise at Ama Keng Dormitory. The keys have been for him to open a gate close to the dorm, main to the SAF coaching floor.

When the dorm and the gate have been each shuttered, Cheng tried utilizing the keys on the newly constructed Track 9 gate and located that one of many keys labored.

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However, additional investigations confirmed that Cheng’s account was false. SAF had constructed the Track 9 gate in 2019 and used a brand new padlock moderately than an previous one from 2000.

The police obtained a listing of all contractors who had entry to the important thing to the Track 9 gate and cross-checked this in opposition to all of the contacts in Cheng’s telephone.

They discovered a Tan Kim Hua, a pest controller, to be the widespread level of contact. Cheng knew that Tan carried out pest management work on the coaching grounds and requested Tan to duplicate the important thing to the gate.

Tan agreed and duplicated the important thing. He additionally knew when SAF coaching workouts can be carried out at Track 9, as he wouldn’t give you the chance to conduct pest management works on these dates.

Cheng would ask Tan for these dates, and had known as Tan on Sep 9, 2020, to ask if there can be SAF coaching workouts at Track 9 that day. Tan claims he instructed Cheng not to enter regardless, as it’s unlawful to achieve this.

The prosecutor sought three to six months’ jail for Cheng, noting the “great lengths” he went to to intrude right into a protected navy space.

Not solely did he persuade Tan to duplicate the gate key for him, he additionally acquired Tan to expose confidential and delicate info on SAF’s coaching schedule so he may enter the protected space undetected, mentioned the prosecutor.

Cheng additionally actively misled investigators, giving inconsistent accounts as to why he intruded into the coaching floor and mendacity about how he obtained the gate key.

He additionally has a earlier conviction for legal trespass. 

Cheng’s lawyer mentioned his consumer panicked when he was caught and obtained no actual profit apart from to get “free” pandan leaves.

In response, the prosecutor mentioned it was not recognized why Cheng couldn’t have obtained pandan leaves from anyplace else resembling from a market.

Ng had been fined S$2,000 in August for his function within the offence. The prosecutor mentioned Ng’s offence had been dedicated on the spur of the second, as he was approached by Cheng and was not concerned within the preparations.

For entering a protected space with out authorisation, Cheng may have been jailed up to two years, fined up to S$20,000, or each.

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