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Man, 62, jailed after illegally entering SAF training area, giving warrant officer who caught him 3 different excuses

SINGAPORE — After he was caught trespassing into a protected military area in Lim Chu Kang, a man came up with different reasons for being there.

Man, 62, jailed after illegally entering SAF training area, giving warrant officer who caught him 3 different excuses

Cheng Lee Meng (right) outside the State Courts in August 2021. The court heard he asked his friend Ng Kiong Hoe (left) to accompany him to a restricted area in Lim Chu Kang.

  • Cheng Lee Meng, 62, was jailed for two months after trespassing into an SAF training area in Lim Chu Kang
  • He lied to a warrant officer that he was there to conduct works, then changed his account 
  • He had obtained the keys for a gate at the training area from a pest controller

 

SINGAPORE — After he was caught trespassing into a protected military area in Lim Chu Kang, a man kept giving different reasons for being there.

First, Cheng Lee Meng claimed to be doing work within the location, then he said that he was there to conduct prayers and after that, he said that he was there to pick pandan leaves.

Investigations later found that he had obtained keys to a gate that barred public access to the training area from a pest controller.

On Tuesday (Nov 30), the 62-year-old pleaded guilty to one charge under the Infrastructure Protection Act of entering a protected area, and was sentenced to two months’ jail.

TODAY previously reported that Cheng was accompanied by his friend Ng Kiong Hoe to the training grounds on Sept 9 last year.

That morning, Cheng allegedly asked Ng to accompany him to Ama Keng Road Track 9, which is blocked off to the public by a padlocked gate.

The pair made their way to the training grounds later that afternoon in Cheng’s van.

When they arrived, Ng got out of the vehicle to unlock the gate with a key that he had received from Cheng, so that Cheng could drive into the compound.

However, just as Ng was about to close the gates behind him, a warrant officer from the SAF detained them.

THE LIES

Court documents on Tuesday stated that when the warrant officer asked why they were there, Cheng initially claimed that he was a contractor from a firm called “TKK” and he was assigned to conduct some work at the location.

The warrant officer found this suspicious since he was briefed that there would be no works done at the location that day.

Cheng pretended to call his “boss” and handed the phone to the warrant officer.

It was not stated who was on the other line, but the individual claimed to be Cheng’s boss and then hung up when the warrant officer asked for his identity.

At this point, Cheng changed his account and claimed that he wanted to enter Track 9 to conduct prayers, which the warrant officer did not believe.

Cheng then said he was there to pick pandan leaves. It was not stated if this was the real reason for his trespassing.

When the warrant officer questioned him on how he had gotten hold of the keys to the gate, Cheng replied that someone had given it to him but refused to say who.

The warrant officer then called the police, who arrested Cheng and Ng.

HOW CHENG OBTAINED THE KEY

During investigations, Cheng claimed that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) had entrusted a set of keys to him around 2000 when he operated a business at the Ama Keng Dormitory. The keys opened a gate near this dormitory leading to the SAF training ground.

When the dormitory and this gate were both shuttered, he tried using the keys on the newly constructed Track 9 gate and found that one of them worked.

However, further investigations found that Cheng’s account was false, because SAF had constructed the gate to Track 9 in 2019 and used a new padlock for it.

The police then obtained a list of all the contractors who had access to the key to the Track 9 gate and cross-checked this against all the contacts in Cheng’s phone.

The investigators eventually found a common point of contact in Tan Kim Hua, a pest controller for the company Pesterminator.

Court documents stated that Cheng knew Tan conducted pest control work at SAF training grounds and had asked Tan to duplicate the key to the Track 9 gate.

Tan agreed and did so, though he claimed that he did not personally hand it over to Cheng.

Tan knew when SAF training exercises would be conducted at Track 9 because he could not conduct pest control works on those dates.

Cheng would ask Tan for these dates, seemingly to avoid entering Track 9 then.

Investigations found that Cheng called Tan on Sept 9 last year to ask whether SAF would be conducting training at Track 9 that day.

Tan claimed that he told Cheng not to enter regardless since it is illegal.

TODAY has sought comment from the Ministry of Defence on whether any action will be taken against Tan.

Ng, 63, was fined S$2,000 on Aug 2 this year after he pleaded guilty to forming a common intention with Cheng to enter the SAF training ground.

For entering a protected area without authorisation, Cheng could have been jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$20,000, or both.

Related topics

court crime SAF trespass Lim Chu Kang military training

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