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Grab driver gets 4 days' jail after paying S$10,000 for scapegoat to take blame for traffic offence

SINGAPORE — After committing a traffic offence while ferrying passengers, a Grab driver paid an accomplice S$10,000 to arrange for a third party to take the blame for her offence.

Grab driver gets 4 days' jail after paying S$10,000 for scapegoat to take blame for traffic offence
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SINGAPORE — After committing a traffic offence while ferrying passengers, a Grab driver paid an accomplice S$10,000 to arrange for a third party to take the blame for her offence.

When no driver was willing to do so, the accomplice got his wife to bear the burden.

The accused Candy McDonald, also known as Lim Siew Peng, was sentenced on Tuesday (Nov 1) to four days' jail, a fine of S$2,500 and a driving ban of 15 months.

McDonald, 51, pleaded guilty to one count each of dangerous driving and obstructing the course of justice.

The court heard that McDonald was friends with her co-accused, 46-year-old Koh Chew Seng, and his wife.

Koh was also a Grab driver and managed a car rental company known as Koheng Auto.

In December 2019, Koh advised McDonald to rent a car from his company for her work as a Grab driver, and McDonald did so.

On May 16, 2020, McDonald was ferrying passengers in a rented car when she drove dangerously. She went against the flow of traffic to overtake a vehicle, narrowly avoiding an oncoming vehicle and forcing the driver of this vehicle to apply his brakes to avoid a collision.


In June 2020, Koh received a summon letter from the traffic police, indicating that the car was used to commit an offence of careless driving. The composition amount or out-of-court fine was S$200 and the driver would get six demerit points.

Koh told McDonald about the letter, and McDonald called him. She said she had committed the offence, but was reluctant to receive demerit points as she did not want her driving licence to be revoked and for her work as a Grab driver to be affected.

The pair discussed the matter and came to an agreement. McDonald was to pay Koh S$10,000 in weekly instalments of S$200, in exchange for Koh to find another driver to assume criminal liability on McDonald's behalf.

Koh tried to find drivers who would take the blame for McDonald, but could not find any. He thought about pinning it on his wife as they were both female drivers.

Koh then used a corporate account belonging to Koheng Auto to submit his wife's particulars to the traffic police.

He later received a summon letter from the traffic police addressed to his wife and made the payment of S$200 under his wife's name using the corporate account. He did this when his wife was not at home, and she received six demerit points.

In July 2020, McDonald began to make her weekly payment of S$200 by bank transfer. As of Nov 15, 2020, she transferred a total of S$4,000.

She also made two lump sum payments of S$3,000 in August 2020 and October 2020, after receiving government grants to tide drivers through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Koh's wife noticed the money transfers and asked Koh about this, but Koh told her not to "ask so much".

On Jan 14, 2021, McDonald made a police report admitting that she had made payments to Koh for helping her avoid having her licence revoked. Koh was previously jailed for a week for his role.

The prosecutor asked for at least four days' jail, a fine of S$3,000 and 18 months' driving ban for McDonald. He said there was a potential for a major accident due to her actions on the road.

He said the consequence of the obstruction of justice was demonstrably serious.

"The accused arranged with the co-accused for a third party to take the fall and did not actually care if the third party was an innocent party," he said, adding that Koh's wife was the purely innocent third party.

"In addition, the accused's offence enabled her to not only ply on the road but to earn a living doing so, without any legal consequence," said the prosecutor.

He added that S$10,000 was 50 times more than the fine McDonald would have paid if she had assumed liability in the first place.


Defence lawyer Wee Hong Shern asked for one day's jail with a S$2,000 fine and a driving ban of 14 months for McDonald instead.

He said his client is a single mother who was "deserted by her husband two years ago" and is the sole breadwinner for her family. This includes two young daughters and McDonald's elderly parents.

He added that she was not highly educated and relied on her ability to drive as her livelihood. She was deeply remorseful and committed the offences in light of the "immense stress and pressure she had been under to preserve her livelihood and care for her family", said Mr Wee.

Koh had a more significant role in conceiving and executing the offence, said the defence lawyer, adding that Koh was the mastermind and benefited from the S$10,000.

"When our client had come to her senses, she had come forward to confess the crime, a crime which would have gone undetected if not for her courage in facing the music," he added.

He said Koh has not paid any money back to McDonald. The lawyer asked for leniency and compassion, saying his client's mother and daughter had contracted Covid-19.

Mr Wee said McDonald was a food delivery agent at the time of the offence, and unforeseen traffic conditions led her estimated food pick-up time to be delayed. This would have resulted in her making a late delivery.

She was worried she would receive a bad review or rating if she made a late delivery, said Mr Wee. CNA

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crime court Grab driver Traffic Offence

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