SINGAPORE – A motorist, who knew he could be going to jail after he was caught drink driving for the second time, landed in deeper trouble when he offered a policeman a $1,000 bribe in an attempt to get himself off the hook.
The officer rejected the offer and after a trial, Principal District Judge Victor Yeo convicted the drink driver, Chong Wei Kwong, of a graft charge.
On Monday (Dec 6), the 50-year-old Singaporean also pleaded guilty to one count of drink driving after he was caught with 76 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath in December 2018.
This was more than double the prescribed limit of 35mcg of alcohol.
For committing the two offences, Chong was on Monday sentenced to 10 weeks’ jail, given a fine of $5,000 and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for five years.
Chong had an earlier drink-driving conviction in April 2001 for which he was fined $2,000 and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for 15 months.
Despite this, he did not learn his lesson and downed about five glasses of liquor before entering the driver’s seat of his car parked at the PoMo shopping mall- now known as GR.ID – in Selegie Road at around 10pm on Dec 14, 2018.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Genevieve Pang said that Chong was reversing his car near an exit gantry when it struck a door.
The court heard that the door fell to the ground and a security supervisor was alerted of the incident.
The man then alerted the police even though Chong asked him not to do so.
Two police officers, Staff Sergeant Low Wee Meng and Sergeant 2 Rachel Zhuang, arrived at the scene soon after.
The DPP said: “Upon realising that the police were now involved, the accused felt shocked and scared. He became desperate to extricate himself from his situation. This is evident from the way the accused behaved after the police arrived.”
The court heard that Chong had tried to take back his identity card from the police because he did not want them to record his particulars and investigate him for drink driving.
Chong also denied being the driver of the car, stating that the police officers had no evidence on the matter. Staff Sgt Low then administered a breathalyser test on Chong.
According to the officer, this had to be done “quite a few times” because Chong did not blow properly.
After failing the test, Chong had to be arrested and taken back to a police station.
DPP Pang said: “By this time, the accused knew that it was a real possibility that he could go to jail for drink driving. He was desperate to get out of trouble for drink driving. The accused first asked Staff Sgt Low: ‘Can we compromise?’.
“In response to his plea, (the officer) replied that there are cameras everywhere and that there is no way he could easily get out of it. Staff Sgt Low’s response immediately caused the accused to despair. The accused lamented that once the police are alerted, he was ‘done for’, as he knew that there was a good chance that he would go to jail for drink driving.”
The prosecutor said that Chong continued pleading for a “compromise” and even asked if the police would withdraw the case.
The policeman stood his ground and according to court documents, Chong tried to offer him a bribe by saying: “Whatever you want, I will do for you.”
The court heard that Staff Sgt Low then warned Chong who persisted and offered the officer a bribe of $1,000.
Staff Sgt Low rejected the offer and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau was later alerted.
In his defence, Chong had claimed that the $1,000 offered was meant for the settlement of the damages he caused at the carpark.
The DPP said that this was “clearly an afterthought”, adding: “The accused has conceded in the course of trial that he had in fact intended to engage someone to repair the door himself rather than pay a sum of the money to the carpark’s management for the door’s repairs.
“Accordingly, he could not have intended to offer the sum of $1,000 to Staff Sgt Low as compensation for the carpark’s management.”
For graft, an offender can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.