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Former A*STAR employee gets jail, fine for pushing NParks officer who caught him fishing illegally

Former A*STAR employee gets jail, fine for pushing NParks officer who caught him fishing illegally

Fishing bait in water. (File photo: iStock)

SINGAPORE: A research officer with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) went fishing illegally at Upper Seletar Reservoir, where he was caught by an auxiliary police officer working for the National Parks Board (NParks).

He refused to give his personal particulars to the officer when asked, instead running away and tumbling to the bottom of a slope, where he pushed the officer.

Chua Ci Jie, 29, was on Wednesday (Feb 23) sentenced to 24 days' jail and fined S$3,500 after claiming trial for two charges of using criminal force to prevent a public servant from doing his duty and refusing to provide evidence of his identity.

He had pleaded guilty to another charge of refusing to provide evidence of his identity and a charge of fishing in a nature reserve at a non-designated spot.

The court heard that on Nov 30, 2019, Chua was fishing with a rod at Upper Seletar Reservoir. Fishing is not allowed in nature reserves except at designated spots, and Chua was about 1km away from the nearest spot.

An NParks officer saw Chua fishing and approached him to ask for his personal particulars. The encounter was recorded on the officer's body-worn camera. Chua refused to provide his particulars and told the officer he would move. 

When the NParks officer asked Chua to follow him to a hut nearby, Chua started to walk off in the opposite direction. He continued trying to leave even after he was told the officer had a right to stop him, saying: "I'm sorry about the offence, I got it but I got to go."

Two other NParks officers saw what was happening and approached the duo. When Chua saw them, he ran down a nearby slope. As he did so, the first NParks officer reached out to hold on to the strap of Chua's bag, and both men tumbled down the slope.

At the bottom of the slope, Chua pushed the officer. According to the officer's testimony, the push on his upper arm was forceful enough that he fell back onto his buttocks. The officer lodged a police report and sought medical treatment a few days later.

Chua then ran along a path until the two other NParks officers caught up with him and asked for his particulars. He initially refused, but eventually gave them his NRIC.

During the trial, Chua argued that he could not hear the victim identify himself and did not think he was an NParks officer.

The prosecution said that Chua had been caught illegally fishing in the same reservoir previously, and wanted to avoid legal repercussions for his offence.

Chua left A*STAR at the end of July 2020, the agency told CNA.

Source: CNA/dv


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