SINGAPORE: A 49-year-old man was found guilty on Tuesday (Aug 24) of trying to bribe a police officer to avoid being arrested for drink driving.
Chong Wei Kwong - who had previously been fined S$2,000 and banned from driving for 15 months for a drink driving offence in 2001 - had been charged with offering Staff Sergeant Low Wee Meng S$1,000 on Dec 14, 2018.
In its submission, the prosecution stated that the accused was driving his vehicle out of the car park at PoMo shopping mall on Selegie Road at about 11pm that day.
While at the car park’s exit gantry, Chong reversed his vehicle and rammed it into a door, which caused it to fall to the ground.
A PoMo security officer was alerted to the incident and called the police, though Chong had asked him not to.
SSG Low and another officer arrived at the scene about 10 minutes later, and administered a breathalyser test on Chong, who failed the test.
Chong then offered S$1,000 to SSG Low.
"The prosecution’s case is that the accused’s offer of S$1,000 ... was meant as gratification to induce SSG Low to refrain from arresting him for his drink driving offence," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Genevieve Pang in her submission.
"Further, it is apparent from the evidence led at trial and the surrounding circumstances that the accused knew that what he was doing was corrupt."
Chong was in a state of panic as he knew he could face a jail term for his second drink driving offence, Ms Pang said.
Footage from SSG Low’s body-worn camera showed that Chong tried to take his NRIC back from the police so they could not take down his particulars and had denied being the driver of the vehicle in question, prior to taking the breathalyser test.
The footage also showed Chong, speaking in English and Hokkien, repeatedly asking for a “compromise”.
SSG Low subsequently arrested Chong after their conversation.
A breath evidential analysis later conducted at Tanglin Police Division later showed that Chong had 76 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath - more than twice the limit of 35 microgrammes.
The defence had argued that Chong intended for SSG Low to give the S$1,000 to the building’s management for damages to the door.
The prosecution however contended that this reasoning was “clearly an afterthought”.
Chong’s interpretation of the body-worn camera was “riddled with inconsistencies”, said Ms Pang.
She also noted that Chong acknowledged during the trial that he had intended to engage someone to repair the door, rather than pay the car park’s management for the door’s repairs.
“Accordingly, he could not have intended to offer the sum of S$1,000 to SSG Low as compensation for the carpark’s management,” Ms Pang argued.
Chong had also admitted in statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) that the sum of S$1,000 was meant as a bribe to SSG Low so that he could avoid arrest for drink-driving, she said.
In delivering his verdict, Principal District Judge Victor Yeo said that he could not agree with the defence’s argument.
He added that there was “no other plausible reason” for the accused to offer SSG Low S$1,000 other than as a bribe to avoid being arrested for drink driving for the second time.
Chong is scheduled to appear in court on Sep 23 for sentencing.
Those convicted of corruption can be fined up to S$100,000, jailed up to five years, or both.