Public Prosecutor v Ching Fong

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeTerence Chua Seng Leng
Judgment Date01 April 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] SGMC 9
Citation[2003] SGMC 9
Publication Date02 October 2003
Plaintiff CounselLim Swee Tee (M/S Lim Swee Tee & Co.)
Defendant CounselMichael Tay (Police Prosecutor)

1 The Appellant faced three charges, one Section 292(a) of the Penal Code Chapter 224 and two charges under the Films Act, Chapter 107. The Prosecution proceeded with all charges. The 1st charge read as follows:

You, Ching Fong, Male / 49 Years Old, NRIC No: S 2702347-I, are charged that you, on the 30th day of May 2002 at or about 1.00 am, along Lorong 10 Geylang, Singapore, did have in possession, to wit, 33 (Thirty three) jackets of video compact discs with obscene pictures, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 292(a) of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

2 The 2nd charge read as follows:

You, Ching Fong, Male 49 years, NRIC No: S2702347-I, are charged that you on the 30th day of May 2002, at or about 1.00 am, along Lorong 10 Geylang, Singapore, did have in your possession 33 video compact discs containing 33 obscene films having reasonable cause to believe such films to be obscene for the purposes of distribution and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 29(3)(a) of the Films Act Chapter 107.

3 The 3rd charge read as follows:

You, Ching Fong, Male 49 years, NRIC No: S2702347-I, are charged that you, on the 30th day of May 2002 at or about 1.00 am, along Lorong 10 Geylang, Singapore, did carry on the business of distributing video compact discs containing films without a license which is a contravention of Section 6(1)(a) of the Films Act, Chapter 107, and punishable under Section 6(2) of the same Act.

4 The Appellant claimed trial to the charges. At the end of the trial, and upon hearing submissions from the Prosecution and Defence, the Appellant was convicted on all the charges.

The Prosecution Case

5 Four witnesses were called for the Prosecution. They were:

PW1 – Lee Ching

PW2 – Sgt B Vijayadran

PW3 – Cpl Neo Hwee Chin

PW4 – Sgt Loh Say Keat

All witnesses gave evidence from the witness box.

PW1’s evidence

7 Ms Lee Ching of the Board of Film Censors’ evidence was straightfoward. She stated that she examined 33 jackets of VCDs sent to her by the Bedok Police Station Investigating Officer in respect of the seizure of those VCDs on 29th May 2002. She subsequently put up a statement certifying that the films were, respectively, uncertificated and obscene (Exhibit P4).

8 Ms Lee also stated that there were 33 individual films and that she had conducted a check on the IC number of the Appellant and confirmed that he did not have a license for distributing films.

PW2’s evidence

9 Sgt Vijayendran testified that he had been on duty at the Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre from 8 pm on 29 May 2002 to 8 am on 30 May 2002. At about 1 am, he and his partner, Cpl Neo Hwee Chin (PW3) were at Lorong 12, Geylang, on patrol to look out for any drug-related suspects near Canning Park Hotel. They drove from Paya Lebar Road, where the NPC was, to Geylang Road and then Lorong 12. The two parked their police vehicle by the side of the road and kept observation from the car on Talma Road.

10 From the vehicle, Sgt Vijay, in the driver’s seat, and his partner noticed 2 VCD stalls along Talma Road. He stated that he paid particular attention to the one nearer him because another patrol car, which was part of the same operation, was coming in from Lorong 10. Sgt Vijay’s patrol car was about 5 to 10 metres away from the stall while he kept observation for about 3 to 5 minutes.

11 Sgt Vijay then stated that he saw a Chinese man in a red coloured shirt, of plump build, behind the VCD stall he was keeping observation on. The front of the stall faced Talma Road which was opposite Geyland Football Field (a sketch plan of the area drawn by the witness was produced and marked as Exhibit P6). There were other people, about 5 to 6 people including the subject, around the VCD stall picking up the VCDs and looking at them. Sgt Vijay saw that the man was behind the table and no one else was behind the table.

12 The subject was seen taking the VCDs and handing it to the people who wanted to buy the VCDs and money was taken from the people in return. Two to three transactions of this sort were seen but he could not see how much money changed hands or where the money went. Sgt Vijay stated that in addition to being able to see the side of the subject’s face, the street lights along Talma Road were lit, so the area was bright, and there was also some lighting from Canning Park Hotel. The subject was identified by Sgt Vijay in Court as the Appellant and he asserted that he did not make a mistake as the Appellant was very distinctive.

13 Sgt Vijay made the decision to move in at this point, and called for the other patrol car to move in from Lorong 10. Sgt Vijay drove his patrol car into Talma Road and parked on the Geyland Football Field side opposite the stall. He alighted from the vehicle together with his partner.

14 When the Appellant saw Sgt Vijay he ran away and Sgt Vijay gave chase. He stated that some others also ran away but he kept his eye on the Appellant. He shouted at the Appellant in English to stop but the Appellant continued to run. Eventually Sgt Vijay managed to catch up with and detain the Appellant in front of Canning Park Hotel. Sgt Vijay then told the Appellant, "Don’t run – why you run?" The Appellant was placed under arrest and escorted back to the patrol car. The Appellant also stated at the point of arrest, despite not having been asked any questions, that he was not selling VCDs.

15 The VCDs, the tablecloth and a fluorescent light were seized and produced as case exhibits (Exhibits P8 and P9). A frisk search was performed on the Appellant but nothing was seized from him. The seized exhibits were brought back to Bedok Division HQ. As to the other VCD stall, Sgt Vijay stated that the other person manning that stall had run away, but he had not paid much attention to that stall because the other patrol car had been observing that other stall. The other stall was separate from the one Sgt Vijay was observing, about 5 to 10 metres away.

16 Once back at Bedok Police Division, Sgt Vijay put up the arrest report (Exhibit P7) and handed the accused over to the lock-up and the exhibits to the Station Sergeant on duty. The Appellant was searched for money at the lock-up but the money was placed amongst the property for the accused.

17 Cross-examination by the Defence counsel was quite extensive relative to the evidence, but boiled down to suggesting that the area was very crowded and that the witness may have made a mistake in identification. Sgt Vijay, however, was insistent that there was no one else wearing a red shirt and that he had...

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