SINGAPORE: A 25-year-old man who skipped National Service (NS) for more than three years was sentenced on Monday (Feb 11) to seven weeks in jail.
Zaley Cheng Xi Xiong left Singapore on May 19, 2014, a month after he received his enlistment notice in the mail.
He decided to return home in 2017 because his father, who lives in Singapore, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the court heard.
On Aug 22, 2017, Cheng rang the NS call centre from Australia, where he lived and had obtained his bachelor’s degree, to inform the authorities that he would be coming home to serve his NS term.
He returned to Singapore on Aug 30, 2017, and reported to the Ministry of Defence’s Central Manpower Base the following day, TODAY reported.
Aside from failing to report for enlistment into full-time NS on Jun 10, 2014, it was also an offence for him to have remained outside Singapore for more than three months without a valid exit permit.
Cheng admitted that he was aware of the enlistment notice in May 2014, but had chosen to evade NS as he had medical issues and was afraid of sustaining injuries during training.
He was enlisted into the Singapore Armed Forces on Jan 26 last year.
Court documents stated that Cheng had lied to his parents in 2014, telling them he was going to Brunei for a holiday.
It was only after he reached Brunei that he confessed to his parents he wanted to move and stay in Australia for good. His mother tried to persuade him to return to Singapore but he refused.
An enlistment inspector went to his parents’ house on Jun 12, 2014, two days after Cheng was supposed to enlist, but no one was home. A police gazette was then raised against Cheng four days later, TODAY reported.
A day after he was blacklisted, an enlistment inspector managed to contact his mother by telephone.
She informed the authorities that Cheng had last contacted the family sometime in late May, telling them he would be back in Singapore for enlistment.
For offences under the Enlistment Act, Cheng could have been jailed for up to three years and fined up to S$10,000.