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Driver flipped van while drunk, got into fight at hawker centre before illegally fleeing to Batam

SINGAPORE — After causing an accident while drink-driving, then assaulting two strangers at East Coast Lagoon Food Village, Safuan Kamarodin illegally absconded by boat to Batam, Indonesia to evade arrest.

Driver flipped van while drunk, got into fight at hawker centre before illegally fleeing to Batam
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  • Safuan Kamarodin first fell asleep at the wheel while drunk, crashing into guardrails at the side of the road
  • He and his passenger suffered minor injuries
  • A few months later, he assaulted a man who had accidentally bumped into his friend at a hawker centre
  • He fled to Batam, Indonesia to evade arrest

SINGAPORE — After causing an accident while drink-driving, then assaulting two strangers at East Coast Lagoon Food Village, Safuan Kamarodin illegally absconded by boat to Batam, Indonesia to evade arrest.

The 39-year-old, who has been remanded since last month after he was deported by the Indonesian authorities, pleaded guilty to his offences on Tuesday (April 12) and will return to court next month to be sentenced.

District Judge Lim Wen Juin adjourned the matter to allow him to get a lawyer to make submissions on mitigation.

The Singaporean admitted to one charge each of:

  • Driving while drunk
  • Driving without due care or consideration
  • Leaving the country from an unauthorised point of departure
  • Rioting

Two other similar charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.

This was not his first brush with the law. Safuan was convicted in 2002, when he was aged about 19, for being a member of an unlawful society. He was also similarly convicted of rioting the following year.

The court heard that more recently, on Oct 30 in 2020, he drank a few glasses of whisky at a restaurant at Havelock II mall with a friend.

After leaving the restaurant, he waited for a woman and drove off at about 1.50am, intending to take her home to Sembawang.

He was behind the wheel of a van that had been issued to him by his employer.

Around 2.10am, he was driving along Fullerton Road towards Nicoll Highway when he entered a junction and fell asleep at the wheel, losing control of the van.

The vehicle veered to the left and crashed into the guardrails at the left side of the junction, causing the vehicle to overturn.

Dashboard camera footage of the accident, taken from the van, was played in court.

Safuan remained unaware of how the accident had unfolded and realised what had happened only after the van overturned. He and his passenger sustained minor abrasions and did not need further medical attention.

A police officer performing patrol duties found the van and noticed that Safuan reeked of alcohol.

Safuan failed a breathlyser test, having 87mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath — more than twice the prescribed limit of 35mg per 100ml.

The vehicle rental company that owned the vehicle paid S$13,800 to repair the damaged guardrails.


Separately, a few months later on April 10 last year, Safuan met a group of friends at East Coast Lagoon Food Village to eat and drink. They left at about 12.30am.

Around the same time, Mr Mohd Azlan Manan, 51, and his 20-year-old son were also about to leave when Mr Azlan said that he needed to use the toilet first.

At the entrance of the toilet, he bumped into Safuan’s friend — Nur Faisal Shah Hishamuddin Shah, 34.

Faisal confronted Mr Azlan about the bumping and a dispute broke out.

Safuan made the first move on Mr Azlan by tussling with him. Faisal then punched the victim’s face and several others, including Safuan, surrounded him when he fell, punching and kicking him repeatedly.

The assault lasted about 20 seconds until Mr Azlan managed to get up and flee.

He called his son who went back to the hawker centre to look for him. The younger man then came across Safuan and the group again, and questioned them about the earlier attack on his father.

Another confrontation began brewing and the group assaulted Mr Azlan’s son, chasing him when he ran away.

He heard the Hokkien phrase “sa la kau”, ostensibly in reference to the name of a secret society, being shouted. He was also struck by a coconut while running but could not tell who had thrown it.

Safuan threw a beer bottle at him but it did not make contact, instead shattering upon impact with the ground.

Mr Azlan was also being pursued. When he fell to the ground, Safuan and some others kicked him repeatedly. Neither him nor his son physically retaliated.

Police officers arrived at the hawker centre after receiving multiple calls for help from members of the public who had witnessed the commotion. Safuan and his friends all fled.

Video footage of the incident, captured by police cameras in the area, was played in court.

Several others have been dealt with over the incident, while Mr Faisal is still on the run.

As a result of the assaults, Mr Azlan suffered abrasions and injuries, and was given four days of medical leave. His son sustained abrasions as well.


About two months later, Safuan decided to illegally abscond from Singapore to evade detection and arrest.

He was wanted by the police at the time, and an arrest warrant had also been issued against him when he failed to attend a court hearing over an unrelated charge. He had behaved in a disorderly manner outside Club Baliza in December 2019 by shouting loudly.

Safuan paid S$500 to a man only known as “Budi” for his illegal departure.

He left Singapore on a boat from Tuas, and was taken to Batam, Indonesia where he stayed for about nine months before he was sent back to Singapore on March 29 this year.

Those convicted of illegally leaving Singapore under the Immigration Act can be jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$2,000, or punished with both.

For drink-driving, Safuan could be jailed for up to a year or fined up to S$10,000, or both. He could also be given a driving ban.

Related topics

court crime drink-driving rioting fight abscond assault

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