Man fined for lying to police that he was the driver in an accident as he wanted to be a 'gentleman'
SINGAPORE: A man who lied to the police that he was behind the wheel in a car accident had wanted to "be a gentleman" and decided to take the rap when he saw that the driver was crying.
Ong Chen Yang, 38, was fined S$5,000 on Monday (Jun 7) for one count of giving false information to a police officer, with a second charge of obstructing justice taken into consideration.
The court heard that Ong was friends with the driver, 30-year-old co-accused Yu Jia, a Chinese national and Singapore permanent resident.
They bumped into each other at a pub at about 11pm on Mar 11, 2020 and began talking. They left the pub together sometime after 1am, and Yu drove while Ong sat in the front seat.
As they were talking, Yu lost her concentration and drove her vehicle over a kerb at the centre divider along Pasir Ris Street 71.
Her vehicle was stuck in the middle of the road, and they called for a tow truck. At about 2.10am on Mar 12, 2020, a member of the public called the police and said there was an accident there.
The police arrived at the accident location and saw that the car was about to be towed away. Ong and Yu were walking away, and one of the officers stopped them.
Ong told the police officer: "Sorry sorry, I am the driver, I am the driver."
The officer continued questioning both Ong and Yu and asked who had been driving the car, and Ong again lied that he was the driver.
In the police vehicle, Ong told the officers that he had been driving while conversing with Yu and was "too engrossed in the conversation" and did not realise that the car had veered near the centre divider.
He was unable to stop in time and the car mounted it, he claimed. He also admitted to having consumed alcohol before driving, and he failed a breathalyser test.
He was arrested for suspected drink driving. The officers realised that Yu had left the scene, despite being told to wait while they spoke to Ong in the police car.
The police escorted Ong to the traffic police headquarters and seized an SD card from the in-car camera.
Ong gave a statement to the investigation officer at 6.05am on Mar 12, 2020 that he had been driving the car and was taking Yu home, but was too engrossed in conversation and did not notice the divider.
However, he told the truth when a further statement was recorded from him at 1.30pm on Mar 13, 2020.
Ong admitted that he had been lying and said that Yu was the driver at the time of the accident.
He said he had lied because he "wanted to be a gentleman and decided to take the rap when he saw that the co-accused was crying".
For knowingly giving false information to a public servant, he could have been jailed up to two years, fined, or both.
Yu was listed as a co-accused in court papers, and her case is pending.