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Secret society member in car chase that led to fatal Istana crash pleads guilty to multiple offences

Secret society member in car chase that led to fatal Istana crash pleads guilty to multiple offences

Images of the fatal car crash at a gate of the Istana circulated on social media after the incident on Dec 16, 2017. (Photos: Facebook/Minghui Ming)

SINGAPORE: A secret society member involved in a car chase that culminated in a fatal crash at the Istana three years ago pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Dec 29) to multiple offences.

Irsyad Sameer Abdul Rahim, 29, admitted to 20 charges, including driving while under the influence of methamphetamine, driving in a rash manner endangering life, failing to stop when instructed to by a traffic police officer, being part of a secret society, ramming his car into police vehicles and attacking a man while armed with a parang.

Another 24 charges will be considered for sentencing.

The court heard that Irsyad was a senior member of an illegal secret society at the time of the offences. He was arrested in April 2017 for assault and placed on police bail, but committed a slew of traffic and drug-related offences in the months after.

In June 2017, a traffic police officer spotted Irsyad changing lanes abruptly and encroaching into the paths of other cars on an expressway and signalled for him to stop.

However, Irsyad fled at a speed of up to 125kmh, weaving in and out of the lanes. He had to stop eventually due to heavy traffic, and locked himself inside the car, appearing dazed. 

When the traffic officer broke the window of the car to secure the ignition key, Irsyad surged the car forward and swerved to the right, colliding into a stationary lorry, before reversing quickly and colliding into the officer's motorcycle.

He was eventually detained by two officers and found to have meth and drug utensils in the car. He did not hold a valid driving licence at the time and his urine samples had meth in it.

On Dec 16, 2017, Irsyad's secret society had a dispute with another illegal group. A fight broke out at Club Baliza in Raffles Boulevard, but members dispersed when police officers arrived.

When Irsyad's group congregated in front of Marina Square later that morning, they spotted a white car that they suspected contained members of the rival secret society.

Irsyad and his other group members surrounded the car, attacking it with their fists and a baseball bat. When those in the vehicle fled, Irsyad and his group went in search of other members from the rival group.

While circling the area near Club Baliza with three other men in his car, Irsyad spotted a member of the rival group in a silver Honda at Raffles Boulevard. A few other cars driven by Irsyad's group members surrounded the Honda, but the Honda driver managed to manoeuvre his vehicle through a gap and fled.

The drivers gave chase, pursuing the silver Honda from Marina Square down to Rochor Road and to Bukit Timah Road, placing the occupants of the silver car in a state of panic, the prosecutor said.

One of the Honda's passengers spotted uniformed police officers along Cavenagh Road and told the driver to "turn in to seek help", said court documents.

The driver, who had been drinking earlier, turned abruptly and crashed the Honda into the rear gate of the Istana.

The driver and a passenger sustained serious injuries and died, while another passenger sustained multiple fractures and facial lacerations.

After this incident, Irsyad continued to drive his vehicle without a valid licence. He escaped a police roadblock a few days later as he knew he was wanted by the authorities, later accelerating into a police vehicle to escape.

He went on to commit more drug and traffic offences until he was remanded on Apr 9, 2018, a few days after failing to report for a urine test. In total, he had failed to show up for his urine tests on at least 85 occasions since April 2017.

He will return to court for sentencing on Jan 19.

Source: CNA/ll

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