8 weeks' jail for man who offered officers S$100 in 'coffee money' after getting caught drink-driving
- Han Shaolu was caught by the Traffic Police for drink-driving on Dec 3, 2019
- He offered S$100 to the three traffic policers who stopped him
- He said it was not a bribe “because in China, the amount had to be in thousands of dollars before being considered a bribe”
- The 38-year-old was jailed for eight weeks for his offences
SINGAPORE — A man tried to bribe three traffic police officers with "coffee money" to let him off after he was caught drink-driving.
Han Shaolu, a China national, did this because he did not want to miss his flight back to China the next day.
The 38-year-old was convicted on June 21 at the end of a five-day trial on three charges of corruptly offering S$100 in cash to the officers in 2019. He was jailed for eight weeks on Monday (July 18).
Han had claimed during the trial that the money he offered was meant as payment for a fine, but it was later proved by the prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Samuel Yap, that he knew that he was offering a bribe.
Court documents showed that the incident between Han and the officers happened on Dec 3 in 2019, at an open-air car park at Geylang Lorong 31 between 11.30pm and 11.45pm.
Two officers, Senior Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Roslan Abdul Rasip and Sergeant (Sgt) Muhammad Shakir Lim Muhammad Sharizal Lim, were dispatched to the location to attend to a case of possible drink-driving when they encountered Han driving a black Toyota Harrier.
After they approached Han, they were unable to communicate with him because he would respond in Mandarin when they asked him questions in English.
They noticed that Han smelled of alcohol, so Sgt Shakir returned to his patrol car to retrieve a breathalyser, while SSgt Roslan tried to engage the man.
At this point, Han took his identification cards and two S$50 notes from his wallet and waved the items at both officers.
Since they were unable to understand what Han was trying to tell them, they rang a fellow officer, Sgt Lum Zheng Yao, to help translate what Han was saying.
During that conversation, Sgt Lum understood from Han that the S$100 was an offer to the two officers to “let him off and give him a chance”, and that “if S$100 is not enough (Han could) increase it to S$150”.
On hearing this, SSgt Roslan told SGT Lum to inform Han that he would be placed under arrest for bribery.
The officers’ team leader, Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Tan Jia Ming, was also informed of the incident and made his way down to the car park.
There, ASP Tan asked Han if he had offered money to the officers.
Han said that he did but that it was a trivial matter and asked to be let go. He even offered the money to ASP Tan.
Han added that S$100 — which he described as “kafei qian”, or coffee money in Chinese — was not a bribe “because in China, the amount had to be in thousands of dollars before being considered a bribe”, court documents stated.
ASP Tan responded that even an offer of 20 cents would be considered a bribe.
Han was eventually arrested. During the course of investigation, it was revealed that Han was “in a hurry to return home to China” the following day.
DPP Yap said that Han therefore had a "reason to ensure that his return to China was smooth and not impeded by any ongoing investigations against him, much less an arrest”.
“Seen in this context, the accused’s true intentions at the material time become obvious,” DPP Yap added.
Anyone convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to S$100,000 or jailed up to five years, or both.
Related topicscourt crime bribe Traffic Police drink-driving
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