Chua Yu Sam v Public Prosecutor

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeGilbert Low Teik Seang
Judgment Date28 September 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGMC 20
Citation[2002] SGMC 20
Published date19 September 2003
Subject MatterCriminal Law,Bankrupt Leaving Jurisdiction Without Consent of the Official Assignee,Section 131(2) Bankruptcy Act (Cap 20)

Judgment

GROUNDS OF DECISION

1 The accused pleaded guilty to the second charge (marked P2) in a series of 3 charges in Official Assignee Summons 81 of 2002:

"You … are charged that you, having been adjudged a bankrupt on 31st day of March 1989 and having not obtained a discharge from bankruptcy, did leave Singapore, on or about 2nd day of October 2001 for Thailand without the previous permission of the Official Assignee and have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 131(2) of the Bankruptcy Act (Chapter 20)."

2. He agreed to take into consideration the two remaining charges in the series (marked as P1 and P3 respectively):

Charge P1

"You … are charged that you, having been adjudged a bankrupt on 31st day of March 1989 and having not obtained a discharge from bankruptcy, did leave Singapore, on or about 26th day of September 2001 for Malaysia without the previous permission of the Official Assignee and have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 131(2) of the Bankruptcy Act (Chapter 20)."

Charge P3

"You … are charged that you, having been adjudged a bankrupt on 31st day of March 1989 and having not obtained a discharge from bankruptcy, did leave Singapore, on or about 1st day of December 2001 for Thailand without the previous permission of the Official Assignee and have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 131(2) of the Bankruptcy Act (Chapter 20)."

3. The Statement of Facts, the contents of which the accused admitted to without any qualification, was marked as Exhibit P4. It was stated that he was adjudged a bankrupt by the High Court on 31st March 1989 in Bankruptcy No. 2054 of 1988 and he is still an undischarged bankrupt. The material portions of the Statement of Facts are found in paragraphs 4, 5 and 7, reproduced as follows:

"4 The Accused is aware of the requirement to seek the Official Assignee’s prior permission before leaving Singapore:

(i) On 12th November 1999 he was found to be in contempt of court for leaving Singapore in 1996 without the previous permission of the Official Assignee and was committed to prison for 2 weeks.

(ii) On 14th August 2001 he applied for and was granted permission by the Official Assignee to leave the country for Thailand for a period of one month from 16th August 2001 to 16th September 2001.

5 The Singapore Immigration and Registration seized the Accused International Passport on or about 8th January 2002 on the suspicion that he was travelling without the Official Assignee’s permission. Upon inspection of his Singapore International Passport issued to him on 14th August 2001, it was discovered that he had travelled on this passport without the Official Assignee’s previous permission.

6 [deleted]

7 Facts relating to the 2nd Charge

The Accused, whilst being an undischarged bankrupt, left Singapore on or about 2nd October 2001 for Thailand without the previous permission of the Official Assignee."

4. In support of paragraph 4(i) of the Statement of Facts as regards the committal proceedings, Assistant Official Assignee Mr Sunari bin Kateni tendered a copy of the Order of Committal which included the Official Assignee’s Report in support of the committal proceedings, all of which were marked collectively as Exhibit P5. The Report alleged various infractions which the accused as an undischarged bankrupt had committed vis--vis the authority of the Official Assignee. Amongst the infractions was for having absconded from Singapore to Thailand without the permission of the Official Assignee in 1996 (see paragraph 7 of the Report). After a hearing, the Senior Assistant Registrar of the Supreme Court ordered that the accused be committed to prison for a period of 2 weeks with effect from 12 November 1999.

5. Apart from the committal proceedings, the accused had no criminal antecedents in Singapore.

MITIGATION

6. In his written mitigation (marked as D1), counsel pleaded with me to tamper justice with mercy in meting out the appropriate sentence on the accused. Two reasons were given as regards why the accused had needed to travel overseas. One was because of his pending matrimonial matters in...

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