SINGAPORE — After drinking two glasses of whisky with friends one night, Tan Chin Lee was heading to another appointment when he drove fast against the flow of traffic before colliding head-on with a motorcyclist.
He was also involved in an unrelated assault on a security guard at a condominium after he was refused entry because his friend did not have her resident’s pass with her.
The 27-year-old Singaporean was sentenced to four weeks’ jail on Tuesday (Dec 12) after he pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving and a charge for causing hurt to a security officer under the Private Security Industry Act.
He was also disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for two years.
Two other related traffic offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.
DRIVING AGAINST FLOW OF TRAFFIC
On May 31 last year, Tan met some friends along Pekin Street near Chinatown after work and drank two glasses of whisky.
Sometime before midnight, he left the restaurant to drive to another appointment in the Geylang area.
At about 11.55pm, he was driving onto Crawford Street towards Republic Avenue against the flow of traffic at a fast speed for about 25 seconds.
In doing so, he passed several oncoming vehicles.
He then made a right turn along a slip road to get on Kallang Road, while still travelling against the flow of traffic, which resulted in a head-on collision with Mr Zahirudin Masri, who was riding a motorcycle.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Eugene Lau said that Tan then alighted from his car and realised that he had driven against the flow of traffic.
He went to help Mr Zahirudin up and also tried to stop a passerby from calling the police and ambulance.
When the passerby insisted on making the calls, Tan returned to his car and drove away, making a U-turn against the flow of traffic and running a red light.
The footage of the collision was recorded by Tan’s in-car camera.
Mr Zahirudin was later taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where he was found to have sustained tenderness in his lower back and scrapes over his forehead, right knee and left foot.
Tan surrendered himself to the police about three hours later. He passed a breathalyser test and claimed that the was tired from driving for the entire day.
ATTACKED CONDO SECURITY GUARD
Sometime before 6.54am on May 7 this year, Tan was in a rented car with his friend Ng Eng Kiong and was to drop their friend Xu Yan off at City Square Residences condominium, where she lived.
When the car arrived, Mr Suraskumar Murugaya, who was a security officer at the condominium, told them that their car could not enter. Ms Xu had forgotten to take along her resident’s pass.
Mr Suraskumar advised Ng to stop his car by the side of the road and for Ms Xu to register her particulars at the guard house.
Ng asked Mr Suraskumar to give him some leeway but the security officer refused.
Ng, was listed as a co-accused in court documents, then parked his car along the road opposite the condominium, alighted and ran over to start throwing punches at Mr Suraskumar.
Tan also alighted and began to assault the guard.
Moving backwards, Mr Suraskumar fell and after he stood back up, both Tan and Ng continued to throw punches repeatedly at him, causing him to fall again.
The attack stopped only after Mr Suraskumar’s colleagues saw the commotion and separated the duo from the security officer.
Mr Suraskumar was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where he was found to have sustained mild tenderness at his left forehead and upper and lower back.
‘RISK OF CAUSING MORE COLLISIONS’
Seeking a jail term of between four and six weeks and a disqualification from driving for between 24 and 36 months, DPP Lau said that there was considerable potential harm caused by Tan driving against the flow of traffic for an extended duration.
As seen from the recorded footage taken from his car, he drove past several oncoming vehicles, creating a high risk of causing more collisions, DPP Lau argued.
He added that when Tan fled the scene, he also made an illegal U-turn and ran a red light.
“The accused’s claim that he did not realise what he was doing because he was sleepy is no excuse.
“If he felt that way, he should not have compounded his difficulty in driving by drinking two glasses of whiskey and he should not have been going for another appointment,” DPP Lau said.
For dangerous driving, Tan could have been jailed for up to two years or fined S$10,000, or both.
For voluntarily causing hurt to a security officer, Tan could also have been jailed for up to five years or fined up to S$10,000, or both.