Man fined $15,000 for offering to 'take care' of traffic cop
WHY become my enemy when you can be my friend?
And when I see you next time, I will take good care of you.
Such a 'make peace' offering may be effective in resolving a dispute.
But in this case, it landed the person who made the offer in more trouble, because he had tried to use it to bribe a traffic police officer into letting him off for a traffic offence.
Sergeant Pah Wenxiang was patrolling along Woodlands Road at about 5.30pm on 31 Oct last year when he spotted a driver of a white car making an illegal U-turn and driving against traffic flow for 500m.
In doing so, the driver narrowly missed a collision with a motorcyclist before entering a petrol station.
The cop then tailed the driver and confronted him when the latter stopped at the petrol station.
The driver, Lim Teck Choon, a 56-year-old Malaysian businessman, told Sgt Pah he did not want to be caught in the traffic jam and wanted to return to Malaysia as soon as possible.
He even went on to suggest that it was common for vehicles to reverse and drive against the flow of traffic when there was a traffic jam.
His excuse cut no ice and Sgt Pah proceeded to inform Lim that he would be charged in court for dangerous driving and that he would be placed under arrest.
Tried to bargain
Lim tried to bargain with Sgt Pah by asking whether it was possible not to 'summon' him so 'heavily'.
Sgt Pah replied that he had no choice as Lim had committed a serious traffic offence. Lim acknowledged that he was at fault and that he could not deny this.
While waiting for the police car to arrive, Sgt Pah started a conversation with Lim, who said that he was a businessman with businesses in Singapore and Malaysia.
He added that he also owned plantations in Johor which were popular grounds for fishing and hunting.
Lim then told Sgt Pah: 'Why want to do this, be enemy. You should let me go. We can be friends. Next time you come to Malaysia, Iwill take care of you, still got benefits.'
On hearing that, Sgt Pah felt that the accused was offering a bribe, and he accordingly told the accused that it was an offence to do so.
The accused replied 'okay' and did not say anything else after that.
Still, the offer to bribe the cop landed Lim in hot water.
When his case came up before District Judge Jasvender Kaur, the judge noted that attempting to bribe a police officer is a serious offence.
But she took into account Lim's plea for leniency in this case.
First, after Lim's request of not being summoned so heavily was turned down, Lim did not persist.
Lim admitted he was wrong and that the traffic police officer was only doing his duty.
Judge Kaur said: 'I think it is reasonable to say that the accused would, in all probability, not have said what he said had Sgt Pah not started the casual conversation.'
Lim also pleaded with the judge, saying that he was a deputy chairman of Malaysian Chinese Association for the town of Kampong Jawa in Johor, and he has helped students and orphans in his constituency
As Lim had no previous records, he was spared the jail sentence and was fined $15,000 for the bribery offence.
He was fined $2,500 earlier and disqualified from driving for six months.
The prosecution has since filed an appeal against the sentence.
Under the law, those who commit bribery offences can be jailed up to five years or a fined up to $100,000, or both.
This article was first published in The New Paper on Nov 23, 2008.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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