National serviceman who went Awol pleads guilty to stealing brother’s passport in attempt to flee to Batam
SINGAPORE — Knowing that he was wanted by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for going absent without official leave (Awol), a 20-year-old full-time national serviceman tried to flee the country.
SINGAPORE — Wanted by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for going absent without official leave (Awol), a 20-year-old full-time national serviceman tried to flee the country.
Lim Jin Wei stole his brother’s passport earlier this year and bought a ferry ticket to Batam, Indonesia, but was stopped before he could board the boat.
During his detention, Lim became verbally abusive and spat at a police officer.
On Wednesday (May 20), he pleaded guilty to one charge for an offence under the Passports Act, and a charge each for using abusive words and criminal force on a public servant.
The court heard that at the time of the offence in February, Lim was a full-time serviceman wanted by the SAF for going Awol around Oct 24 last year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kathy Chu said Lim had gone to the Singapore Cruise Centre at HarbourFront on Feb 27 this year to buy a ferry ticket to Batam, using his brother's passport.
His plan was to flee Singapore, the prosecutor said.
The boat was scheduled to depart at about 7pm, but Lim’s plans were thwarted when he failed to clear the departure section at the cruise centre because his fingerprints did not match the records linked to his brother’s passport.
Police officers were called after Lim became uncooperative when an officer from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority requested his identification card number.
DPP Chu said Lim was then arrested and escorted to the Police Cantonment Complex on New Bridge Road for investigation.
That evening, officers carried out a search on Lim, the prosecutor said. It was at that point that Lim became agitated and pointed his middle finger at an officer before hurling vulgarities at him.
After the search was done, Lim was placed in a holding area, where he spat on the face of the same officer.
DPP Chu said that this was not Lim’s first brush with the law.
In November 2017, he was given 18 months’ probation after he was caught driving a vehicle under the age of 18 and without insurance coverage.
Despite this, DPP Chu said that because of his age, the prosecution was requesting probation and a reformative training report to be called for Lim’s latest offences.
Probation is usually offered to first-time offenders aged between 16 and 21. It does not result in a recorded criminal conviction, and allows young offenders to continue with their education or employment while serving their sentences.
District Judge Eddy Tham did not object to the prosecution’s request and deferred sentencing until June 15.