Accident adviser led police on car chase and crashed into tree, gets jail, fine and 5-year driving ban
SINGAPORE: An accident adviser racked up a list of traffic offences including leading the police on a car chase, driving into a tree, drink driving and falling asleep at a red light.
For multiple offences including unrelated charges related to sex work, 39-year-old Melvin Cheong Hui Cai was sentenced on Friday (Jun 12) to 11 weeks' jail, a fine of S$11,400 and a five-year driving ban.
He pleaded guilty to seven charges including dangerous driving, performing a rash act endangering others' safety, drink driving, inconsiderate driving, and receiving a commission for facilitating a sex worker's work permit application.
Another five charges were taken into consideration.
He committed the slew of offences between March and November last year, the court heard.
At 2am on Mar 4 last year, Cheong was driving his black BMW car along Bukit Timah Road when he came to a police road block.
He slowed down, went against the directional sign and cut across two lanes and Chevron markings to drive into Sarkies Road.
The police officers signalled to Cheong to stop, but he drove at such a speed past them that they stepped back to maintain a safe distance.
They then gave chase in their vehicle. Cheong turned and collided with a stone pillar at Sarkies Mansion, but continued to drive the vehicle into the basement car park before abandoning it and fleeing on foot.
The police towed the BMW away for investigations but could not nab him. They identified him and later released him on bail.
THE SECOND INCIDENT
Another incident occurred on Jun 19 last year, when Cheong was driving a black Toyota along the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) ahead of a traffic police officer.
The officer noticed that the Toyota was moving in an unsteady manner, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jia En, and the driver was tapping on the brakes multiple times.
The officer drove closer but Cheong was still driving erratically, so the officer switched on his police blinkers and siren, driving his car abreast of the Toyota and signalling to Cheong to stop.
Instead of doing so, Cheong suddenly switched lanes and accelerated quickly, with the officer in pursuit, noticing that his speed was past 120kmh and rising.
The chase lasted from the 10.5km mark of the PIE to the Jalan Koyam Ayer exit and into Kallang Bahru.
At one point, Cheong swerved to the extreme left, almost hitting the kerb.
He eventually mounted a footpath, stopping only after his car hit a tree.
When the police officer caught up with him, he saw that Cheong was reeking of alcohol and had a flushed face, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and unsteady gait.
Cheong fainted and fell into the bushes, coming to a while later and vomiting.
He failed to give a breath sample despite five attempts, and was later arrested. A blood sample taken from him found 156mg of ethanol per 100ml of blood, above the legal limit of 80mg.
He was taken to hospital with three fractured ribs and given medical leave. The Toyota was left with a crumpled and dented bonnet, a cracked windscreen and scratches.
FOUND DRUNK AND ASLEEP AT WHEEL
Months later on Nov 11, 2019, the traffic police went down to Tampines Road after receiving a call about a drunk driver.
The officer found a Honda car in a stationary position in the centre lane of the five-lane road before the Hougang Avenue 7 junction.
Cheong was drunk and unresponsive in the driver's seat while the car engine ran, and an ambulance was also at the scene.
Breathalyser tests could not be run on Cheong as he claimed he was short of breath, and he was arrested again. This time, there was 234mg of ethanol per 100ml of his blood, above the 80mg limit.
He later told police that he had drunk two to three glasses of Carlsberg at a coffee shop before driving towards his girlfriend's house, but fell asleep at the wheel when resting his eyes at a red light.
Cheong also separately admitted to receiving cash from sex workers as rewards for helping them facilitate work permit applications.
The prosecutor asked for at least 10 weeks and a day's imprisonment, on top of a fine of at least S$10,300 and a five-year ban from driving.
He said Cheong had committed offences while he was on bail and being investigated for traffic offences.
His blood alcohol limit was almost twice the legal limit on the first occasion, and nearly three times the limit on the second.
For dangerous driving, he could have been jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$5,000, or both, and banned from driving.
For drink driving, he could have been jailed for up to a year, fined between S$3,000 and S$10,000, or both, as this is not his first such offence.