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4 nightclub employees get fines of between S$5,000 and S$8,000 for tipping others off about law enforcement operations

SINGAPORE — When law enforcement officers were conducting checks at various entertainment premises in 2019 and 2020, employees of different nightspots were covertly tipping each other off about the officers' movements.

Four nightclub staff members were fined for tipping workers on various premises about police raids.
Four nightclub staff members were fined for tipping workers on various premises about police raids.
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SINGAPORE — When law enforcement officers were conducting checks at various entertainment premises in 2019 and 2020, employees of different nightspots were covertly tipping each other off about the officers' movements.

In messaging chat groups, they provided details of the operations, such as the licence plate numbers of the vehicles involved, the location of the raids and specific units or departments conducting such operations.

On Thursday (Nov 3), four Singaporean men who were part of these chat groups were handed fines of between S$5,000 and S$8,000 each, after pleading guilty to obstructing the course of justice.

The individuals were Jeffrey Goh Hock Soon, 37; Lim Wei Xiong, 38; Muhammad Azhar Dawood, 29; and Ong Wee Sen, 49.

Twelve other co-accused persons, who had committed similar offences involving the same WhatsApp groups, have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to various fines and prison terms.

The court heard that the WhatsApp chat groups named "Rolex Movement" and "Night Owl" were discovered in April 2019, when a Malaysian was detained at the customs for an unrelated offence and his phone was checked.

Three nightclub employees were later arrested on Feb 6 the following year while acting as lookouts for police presence near the nightclubs where they worked. 

Subsequent investigations uncovered the existence of two other WhatsApp chat groups named "UncleValet" and "Pao Pao Bing Tuan", court documents showed.

Lim, who was given a fine of S$3,000, had worked as a manager at Leisure Court KTV Lounge when he sent two messages on Feb 1, 2020, via the Uncle Valet group to tip off others about a raid. 

As for Muhammad Azhar, he was working as a security officer at various night entertainment outlets when he sent a message to the Night Owl group alerting them of ongoing operations at Orchard Tower on March 10, 2019.

He had also sent another message about two weeks later, which was taken into consideration for sentencing. He was fined S$5,000.

Goh, like Azhar, had also pleaded guilty to one charge while another charge was taken into consideration for sentencing. Goh was handed a fine of S$7,000.

On Jan 12, 2019, Goh — who was working as a manager at De Luxy bar in Bugis  sent five messages via the Night Owl chat group to warn others.

One of the messages mentioned “sbb”, referring to the Secret Societies Branch (SSB) of the Criminal Investigation Department.

Submissions by the prosecution stated: “The SSB investigates secret society activities in Singapore, which are serious in nature. This enhances Goh’s culpability.” 

As for Ong, 49, he was working as a public relations manager at a club along Sam Leong Road in Jalan Besar when he sent six tip-off messages to the Night Owl chat group on Jan 17, 2019. He was fined S$8,000. 

The prosecution, which sought the S$8,000 fine, said that Ong had also sent out a photograph of a marked police van.  

Deputy Public Prosecutor Foong Ke Hui said: “Such brazen conduct ought to be deterred, and a sufficiently high fine is necessary."

If convicted for intentionally obstructing the course of justice, a person is liable to a prison term of up to seven years or a fine, or both.
 

Related topics

crime court nightclub police WhatsApp

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