Public Prosecutor v Chan Choon Seng

JudgeLorraine Ho
Judgment Date10 July 2019
Neutral Citation[2019] SGDC 143
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberDAC-903077-2019, Magistrate's Appeal No. 9134-2019-01
Published date13 December 2019
Hearing Date10 June 2019
Plaintiff CounselDPP Senthil Sabapathy (Attorney-General's Chambers)
Defendant CounselRaphael Louis (Ray Louis Law Corporation)
Subject MatterCriminal Procedure and Sentencing,Sentencing,Road Traffic Act,Dangerous Driving
Citation[2019] SGDC 143
District Judge Lorraine Ho: INTRODUCTION

On 5 September 2018 at about 2.55pm in the afternoon, a rider on a Harley Davidson motorcycle (“the Harley”) was travelling along a relatively busy Tampines Expressway (TPE) towards the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) in the direction of the airport. He was requested to stop by the Traffic Police (TP) officers using blinkers, the car horn and hand signals. Yet the rider did not do so. On the contrary, upon seeing the TP officers, the rider sped away.

Besides speeding at between 160 to 170kmph, the Harley was seen weaving in and out of traffic by switching lanes abruptly and encroaching into the path of other vehicles. As a result, the TP officers had to pursue the Harley for at least 6 minutes along the expressways. Despite this, the rider was relentless and refused to stop.

In the 6 minutes, the Harley travelled not less than 17km from TPE to the PIE and then to the East Coast Parkway (ECP) just before the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE). In order to keep up with the Harley, the TP patrol car too, had to weave in and out of traffic at high speed. It was only when the TP’s Special Operations Team was activated that one of their black “stealth bikes” was finally able to catch up with the Harley and stop the rider.

This was not a scene from the movies. It was only fortuitous that nobody was injured and no accident was caused.

The rider, a 59-year-old Singaporean male, is also known as Robin amongst his family and friends. He retired at the age of 56 years old after serving as a Master Warrant Officer in the Singapore Armed Forces Special Operations Force. Upon his retirement, he pursued his passion for motorcycles.

Unfortunately, as a consequent of his daredevil act on his Harley, the accused was arrested for dangerous driving while riding his motorcycle no. FBJ9966C (“the accused’s motorcycle”) on that fateful day. He was thereafter charged under Section 64(1) of the Road Traffic Act (“RTA”) accordingly.

On 10 June 2019, the accused pleaded guilty before me to the said dangerous driving charge and was sentenced to five days’ imprisonment with effect from 10 June 2019. Additionally, pursuant to s42(1) of the RTA, the accused was disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences (“DQAC”) for a period of 36 months with effect from 10 June 2019.

The accused filed a Notice of Appeal dated 10 June 2019 against the sentence imposed on him. Pending the appeal, the accused has only applied for a stay of the execution in relation to the sentence of imprisonment imposed on him. For that reason, I allowed his application. He did not apply for a stay of the disqualification order pending the appeal.


The two charges faced by the accused read as follows:

Charge No. Description of the Charge
1st Charge – Dangerous driving charge (DAC-903077-2019) [Proceed] You, are charged that on the 5th September 2018 at about 2.25p.m., along Tampines Expressway towards Pan Island Expressway, Singapore, did ride motor cycle, FBJ9966C, in a manner which was dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the nature, condition and use of the road, and the amount of traffic which was actually at the time, or which might reasonably be expected to be on the road, to wit, a) by swerving abruptly multiple times between lanes 1 and 2, encroaching into the path of several vehicles on lanes 1 and 2 at close distance and fast speed and thus causing them to swerve away from the said motor cycle to avoid collision; b) by riding between 160-170kph along the expressway which exceeded the maximum imposed speed limit of 90kmph of the road; and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 64(1) of the Road Traffic Act, Chapter 276.
2nd Charge – Failing to stop when ordered by an officer in uniform (DAC-903079-2019) [TIC] You, are charged that on the 5th September 2018 at about 2.25p.m., while riding motor cycle, FBJ9966C, along Tampines Expressway towards Pan Island Expressway, Singapore, did fail to stop when ordered by an officer in uniform and you have thereby committed an offence under Section 127(5) of the Road Traffic Act, Chapter 276 and punishable under Section 131(2)(a) of the same Act.

On condition that the accused pleads guilty, the Prosecution agreed to proceed on the 1st charge and take into consideration (TIC) the 2nd charge for the purpose of sentencing.

Statement of Facts

The accused admitted to the Statement of Facts (“SOF”) without qualification. A concise, succinct and edited version of the SOF depicting the offence of the dangerous driving charge read as follows:

On 5 September 2018 at about 2.25pm, the complainant whilst patrolling along Tampines Expressway towards the direction of Pan Island Expressway, near to the 2km mark, spotted motorcycle FBJ9966C on the centre of 3 lanes road. The complainant then switched on his blinkers and horned at the defendant with hand signals to stop on the left of 3 lanes. The defendant then glanced at the complainant with eye contact made. However, instead of stopping, the defendant suddenly accelerated away. The complainant then gave chase to the said motorcycle with his blinker lights and siren switched on. At the slip road of Tampines Expressway into Pan Island Expressway, the defendant squeezed in between the two lanes with vehicles on each side and cutting into their paths causing the vehicles to brake and swerved apart. The defendant then entered into a slip road entering Changi North Cres with the complainant on the rear right and the defendant did not appear to be slowing down. At the junction of Changi North Cres, the defendant made an abrupt right turn back into the slip road leading to Pan Island Expressway towards Airport. While travelling along Pan Island Expressway towards Airport, the defendant was seen squeezing between lane 1 and lane 2 with car and lorry on both side and was swerving in and out to avoid vehicles causing the other vehicles to swerve away from him. The complainant checked his motorcycle’s speedometer and speed reading was 160kph. The defendant then entered the slip road into East Coast Parkway towards Marina Coastal Expressway and while negotiating the left bend, the defendant was seen wobbling. After the bend, the defendant then accelerated away and was then observed overtaking vehicles on lane 1 and lane 2 and doing so dangerously at fast speed and close proximity with other vehicles, with speed check of 170kph. His actions again caused other vehicles to swerve away from him to avoid a collision. The complainant then continued to trail defendant to the 7.5km mark where the second complainant intercepted and continued the pursuit. The defendant was then observed to be swerving in between lane 1 and 2. His actions again caused other vehicles to swerve away from him to avoid a collision. About 1km into the pursuit, the defendant then made a lane change to the left and slowed down. Near to the 9km mark, the second complainant then went alongside with the defendant, gestured and shouted towards the defendant to stop at the road shoulder. The latter complied and he was placed under arrest by the complainant and escorted back to the Traffic Police HQ. In total, the defendant was chased by the complainant at high speeds of about 160 to 170km/h for about 6mins. The incident was captured by the in-car camera of the complainant’s patrol car. When subsequently questioned, the accused admitted that, during the chase, he had noticed from his side mirror that a traffic police car was chasing him but stated that he continued to speed off as he felt panicked.


The video footage taken from the in-car camera of the TP patrol car at the material time was admitted into evidence as part of the Statement of Facts.

SENTENCE Antecedents

Other than 3 compounded parking offences, the accused was traced with the following compounded traffic offences:

Date Offence Demerit Points Fine Amount
19 December 2003 Failing to provide driver’s particulars – s81(1)(a) RTA 0 $50.00
9 February 2007 Failing to conform to red light signal – s120(1)(b) RTA 12 $200.00
Prosecution’s Address on Sentence

The Prosecution orally submitted that on the facts, the custodial threshold had been crossed. Whilst there was no accident caused and nobody was injured, the potential harm caused to the public and other road users could have been great given the fact that the accused was riding dangerously at high speed and weaving in and out of traffic for a long distance to flee from the TP officers. The TP officers too had to drive at a fast speed along major expressways in broad daylight to give chase, putting their own lives in danger. This was apparent from the video footage evidence captured by the in-car camera of the TP’s patrol car.

The Prosecution relied on the seminal decision of PP v Koh Thiam Huat [2017] 4 SLR 123 (“Koh Thiam Huat”) where it was held that a related and equally important consideration would be the potential harm that might have been caused. This was given that driving is an inherently dangerous activity that can pose serious risk to road users and pedestrians alike.

In terms of culpability, it was equally high in this case. As held in Koh Thiam Huat, factors which would increase the accused’s culpability would include a particularly dangerous manner of driving. Aggravating factors like speeding, drink-driving and sleepy driving would clearly contribute to this. In addition, if the dangerous driving was deliberate, for instance in “hell riding” cases, this would also indicate a higher level of culpability.

The Prosecution further referred to the case of PP v Aw Tai Hock [2017] SLR 1141(“Aw Tai Hock”) where it was...

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