SINGAPORE: A man who smuggled airsoft rifles into Singapore from Malaysia was caught at Woodlands Checkpoint and later led police to a buyer who had bought three airsoft pistols from him via Carousell.
Both men were sentenced to jail terms and fines on Monday (Jul 13). The smuggler Joel Lim Su-Ming, 31, was sentenced to 12 weeks' jail and a fine of S$10,000 while air traffic control support officer Lee Choon Ming, 47, was given two weeks' jail and fined S$6,000.
The court heard that Lim had gone to a shop in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, to buy two airsoft rifles on the morning of Jul 2, 2018.
He bought a M4A1 Carbine Assault Rifle and a HK416 Assault Rifle, before disassembling the parts and hiding them under the driver's seat, the front passenger seat and in a black bag.
He did so as he wanted to avoid detection, and drove towards Singapore.
At about 5.15pm, he was stopped for a routine check at Woodlands Checkpoint and asked to step out of his vehicle.
Officers found some of the rifle parts under the front seats and in Lim's bag.
He admitted to importing the two rifles from Malaysia to Singapore for his own personal collection, and admitted that he went to the shop in Malaysia three times a year to buy pre-ordered airsoft guns.
He made these orders on the WeChat application and admitted that he would at times help his friends to buy airsoft gun parts from the shop and sell it to them for a quick profit.
He also bought airsoft guns from the shop and sold them on Carousell. A report by the police later assessed the rifles to be serviceable gas-powered airsoft rifles meant for shooting 6mm plastic pellets.
He had imported the items without a valid licence to import them into Singapore, and was also found with a foldable karambit knife, an offensive instrument.
Lim pleaded guilty to one charge of being armed with an offensive instrument without lawful authority and three charges under the Arms and Explosives Act. Another five charges were taken into consideration.
The police raided his home and found a packet of airsoft ammunition consisting of 6mm plastic pellets.
After Lim was arrested, he admitted to selling similar imported weapons to his friends, one of whom he revealed to be Lee.
BUYER ARRESTED AS WELL
The police raided Lee's flat and found three airsoft pistols: A Pietro Beretta Gun, a Glock ZEV and a WinGun.
Investigations revealed that Lee had come across Lim's Carousell account in 2016, when Lee was looking for a knife for a fishing trip.
He bought a combat knife from Lim and later bought the airsoft pistols from Lim at his offer, as Lee had an avid interest in collecting them.
The pistols were examined and found to be serviceable gas-powered airsoft pistols meant for shooting 6mm plastic pellets.
Lee pleaded guilty to three charges under the Arms and Explosives Act, with another three charges taken into consideration.
His lawyer told the court that Lee is a civil servant and is set to lose his job with this conviction.
He said he had collected the pistols for display as he is "an ardent fan", and had no intention of selling or using them. He has no previous convictions, the court heard.
Lim, however, had previously been convicted of a similar offence. In 2016, when he was a private investigator, he was fined S$4,000 for having a replica metal airsoft pistol without a licence.
There was premeditation involved as he disassembled and hid parts of the guns in his vehicle, and the previous fine was clearly "not sufficient" to deter him, said the prosecutor.
For importing arms, Lim could have been jailed for up to three years, fined up to S$10,000, or both.
For possessing arms without a licence, Lee could have been jailed for up to three years, fined up to S$5,000, or both.