Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Singaporean man who lived in Thailand for almost 6 years without exit permit fined S$4,500

SINGAPORE — Shortly after getting married, Joseph Tan Li-Gen flew to Thailand to start a family with his newly wedded wife and to support her cancer-stricken mother.

SINGAPORE — Shortly after getting married, Joseph Tan Li-Gen flew to Thailand to start a family with his newly wedded wife and to support her cancer-stricken mother.

For nearly six years, the Singaporean restaurant owner lived there without an exit permit and was arrested when he returned to Singapore last year.

Tan, now 36, was fined S$4,500 on Wednesday (Dec 1) after he pleaded guilty to one count of remaining outside Singapore without an exit permit under the Enlistment Act.

The Ministry of Defence’s National Service (NS) portal states that operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen), or reservists, must apply for an exit permit if they intend to travel overseas for six months or longer.

Tan told the court that he has never served any reservist duties since he completed his full-time NS in June 2005 with the 42nd Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (42 SAR).

He was assigned to the 490 SAR for his operationally ready NS cycle and later reassigned to the headquarters of another unit after 490 SAR stood down in 2016.

The court heard that Tan left Singapore in March 2015 and spent five years and 10 months overseas.

He was arrested at the airport when he returned to Singapore on Dec 31 last year. It is unclear if he was called up for training in the years he spent overseas.

When District Judge Marvin Bay asked what he was doing overseas, Tan said that he ran his own restaurant in Thailand and was living there with his wife, two children and his sick mother-in-law.

Tan asked to pay his fine in instalments because of his tight finances.

“I have to run two jobs to pay for my monthly expenses because my mother-in-law has cancer and I have two kids to support,” he said.

He added that he was waiting for his Housing and Development Board flat to be ready and is renting a place for S$1,800 a month.

District Judge Bay granted his request.

For remaining outside of Singapore without a valid exit permit, Tan could have been fined up to S$10,000 or jailed up to three years, or both.

Related topics

crime court National Service Mindef reservist NSmen Thailand

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa