SINGAPORE — A man who trespassed into an army training ground claimed he was picking pandan leaves in the area.
Ng Kiong Hoe had been asked to accompany a friend into Track 9 training ground at Ama Keng Road on 9 September last year. He was fined $2,000 in court on Monday (2 August).
The 63-year-old Singaporean had been closing the gate into the training ground when a Singapore Armed Forces officer caught him.
Ng pleaded guilty to one count of entering a protected area without authorisation in common intention with Cheng Lee Meng, 61, despite signboards designating the area as “protected”.
Cheng, who was originally due to plead guilty on the same day as Ng, disputed parts of the statement of facts and will be claiming trial. His case was fixed for a pre-trial conference on 19 August.
According to Ng’s statement of facts, Cheng asked Ng to accompany him into Track 9 training ground on the morning of 9 September last year. To prohibit unauthorised persons from entering the area, there were two signboards stating “Protected Area. No admittance to unauthorised persons” in four different languages on the fences.
Ng agreed to Cheng’s request. At about 2.45pm, Cheng drove a van up to the padlocked gate at Ama Keng Road Track 9. He then passed a key to Ng and instructed him to unlock the gate. Court documents did not state why Cheng had the key.
After Ng alighted from the van and unlocked the gate, Cheng drove into the area and Ng began closing the gate.
The pair were spotted by 2nd Warrant Officer Johan Kassim, who detained them. The officer asked Ng what he was doing at the area, but the latter did not respond.
The duo were later arrested by the police. When being investigated, Ng claimed to have gone to Track 9 to pick pandan leaves.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong sought a fine but left the amount to the court.
In mitigation, Ng told the court he worked as a bowl and plate collector in the coffeeshop and did not have much work due to the recent no dining in rules in compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
District Judge Luke Tan noted that there were prominent signs that prohibited entry and that Ng could have disrupted operations, and endangered the safety of himself and others.
For entering a protected area without authority, Ng could have been jailed up to two years, and/or fined up to $20,000.
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