Public Prosecutor v Goh Ah Lim

JudgeChua F A J
Judgment Date24 August 1989
Neutral Citation[1989] SGHC 75
Date24 August 1989
Subject MatterStatutory offences,Criminal Law,Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185),Trafficking in and exporting diamorphine,ss 5(a), 7 & 12 Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185),Whether accused knows what he carries
Docket NumberCriminal Case No 6 of 1988
Published date19 September 2003
Defendant CounselLee Ah Fong (Ng Lee & Partners)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Plaintiff CounselLee Sing Lit

The accused, a male Chinese aged 46, faced in the alternative two capital charges under the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185) (the Act). The prosecution preferred the two charges in the alternative under s 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The first charge stated that at about 5pm on 20 December 1986 at departure gate D63 of Changi International Airport he did attempt to export from Singapore 1,269.8g of diamorphine contrary to s 7 read with s 12 of the Act. The alternative charge stated that between 5am and 5pm on the same day, he did traffick in the same quantity of diamorphine contrary to s 5(a) of the Act.

The evidence led by the prosecution was as follows.
At about 5pm on 20 December 1986 PC Zainudin bin Jamal was performing anti-hijack body frisking duty at the said departure room on passengers who were shortly due to emplane on British Airways flight BA 11 for Australia. The plane was due to depart at 5.40pm. He saw the accused approach the boarding room. He saw him carrying a duty-free bag containing a bottle of Martell and a carton of Dunhill cigarettes. He stopped the accused for a routine search. He frisked the accused and found that the waist band of the accused`s trousers and both his thighs were bulging. He then questioned the accused about the contents in the bulges. The accused replied `nothing`. He noticed that his face suddenly turned pale and he looked nervous. He questioned him again and the accused again replied `nothing`. PC Zainudin then tapped at the bulging waist band and noticed some whitish powdery substance appearing on the surface. When he approached the accused, he had a strange smell. It was not body odour. Suspecting that the substance was something illegal, he detained the accused. He seized his passport, identity card, air ticket and his boarding pass. He informed his colleagues of the matter. The party went to the airport police station. He lodged a police report. He continued to assist in the investigation and with other officers accompanied the accused to CNB where they arrived at 8.15pm.

In cross-examination, it was put to him that the accused had replied `Chinese medicine` when he first asked the accused about the contents.
He maintained that the accused said it was `nothing` to his first two questions about the contents. He also did not agree that the accused`s paleness could be due to his fairness of complexion. He said that and demonstrated in court how the accused had blinked nervously. He said it appeared that the accused did not know what to do. He agreed there was no other strange behaviour.

Sgt John Cheong Ging Thow arrived at Holding Room D63 at about 5.25pm.
He was briefed by the police officers. He saw the accused and approached him. He checked his waist band and touched it. It was soft. He then recited his questioning and the answers of the accused. Counsel did not challenge the voluntary nature of the answers of the accused. Sgt John Cheong said he asked the accused what the contents were. The accused kept quiet. He asked him again in English, to which the accused replied: `drugs`. He said the accused pointed to the bags in his thighs. Sgt Cheong then asked him who had asked him to carry the drugs and the accused replied that it was an Australian by the name `John`. Sgt John Cheong said that he recorded the conversation in his pocket diary, which he read in court and which counsel for the defence examined. He said he recorded thus: `On questioning him the male Chinese admitted he is carrying drugs for one Australian named John.` The sergeant stated in evidence that he did not tell IO Chew Khai Chow about this conversation and that was the reason why he did not mention this conversation in his statement at the preliminary inquiry. Sgt John Cheong also said in evidence that he asked the accused if he knew the punishment for carrying drugs. At first the accused kept quiet. He then asked him if he knew the sentence or not. The accused then said: `Hang`. In cross-examination, Sgt John Cheong denied defence suggestion that the accused had said that he was told that he was carrying Chinese medicine.

The police officers then escorted the accused to the airport police station.
From there he was escorted to the Central Narcotics Bureau where he was handed over to Narcotics Officer Chew Khai Chow. The accused was still strapped with the bulges at his waistband and at his thighs. At about 9.15pm IO Chew Khai Chow arranged for the accused to be photographed. The photographs produced in court showed bags of powdery substances strapped round his waistband and round his thighs with thigh guards. We need to refer specifically to the packages strapped round the accused`s waist and thighs. IO Chew marked as `GAL-1` the dark blue long pants with a white cloth containing whitish substance, sewn round the waistline. He also marked the two white cloth bags tied round the thighs with thigh guards which he marked as `GAL- 2` and `GAL-3`. Evidence was led to the effect that IO Chew submitted these three exhibits for analysis by principal scientific officer, Dr Chow Shui Tse. Dr Chow Shui Tse stated in evidence that he found that the contents of the three exhibits to be diamorphine with a total nett weight of not less than 1,269.8g. The remains of these three exhibits after analysis were admitted at the trial as exhs P23, P24 and P25. He was not cross-examined by the defence.

IO Chew said he took a then s 121(6) Criminal Procedure Code statement from the accused between 12.20am and 1.30am on 21 December 1986.
As the voluntariness of the statement was accepted by the defence, we admitted the statement by which the accused stated as follows:

I know one Roland Yeo Thiam Kwee for about ten years. About a year ago, Roland Yeo introduced me to an Australian called John. I used to borrow money from Roland Yeo and John for my two daughters` medical expenses at Singapore Nursing Home, No 19, Adam Road. About three months ago, Roland Yeo asked me whether I dare to make big money. He also insulted me that he had only one leg but has more guts than me. He told me further that if I were interested in making big money, John will tell me the details. About a month ago, Roland Yeo, John and me met at the Parklane Coffee House. At the coffee house, Roland Yeo used a measuring tape to measure the size of my long pants. After this meeting, I met either Roland Yeo or John at Parklane Coffee House or at the Kentucky Restaurant at Kampong Java Road. It was Roland Yeo who asked me to bring something from Singapore to Australia and someone will pay me when he received the thing. Roland Yeo and John never told me what was the thing I was supposed to carry. I asked the two of them what was this thing but the two of them assured me not to worry. On 19 December 1986 at about 11pm Roland Yeo telephoned me and asked me to meet him at the food centre at Race Course Road at 5am on 20 December 1986. At the appointed date and place, I met Roland Yeo and another Australian called Joe. Roland Yeo then gave me a pair of long pants and Joe went with me to a public toilet in the food centre. While in the toilet, Joe placed a white cloth packet on my right thigh and he secured the packet with two thigh guards. After that, he secured another packet on my left thigh. When Joe finished this, I put on the long pants given to me by Roland Yeo. I did not know what was the contents in the packets. Both of us then came out from the toilet and met Roland Yeo who then gave me A$342 and S$204 as my travelling expenses. I then asked Roland Yeo that this money was not the amount he had promised as he had previously promised to pay me S$2,000. Roland Yeo on hearing my protest, assured me that when I arrived at Australia someone will pay me. After this, the three of us then went to the Parklane Coffee House where Roland Yeo gave me the plane ticket to Australia. At about 10am, Joe and Roland Yeo left the coffee house. I remained in the coffee house until 12 noon and then I took a taxi to Changi Airport. At about 5pm while I was in the boarding room, I was searched by a Malay police officer and detained by him.

The `Roland Yeo` referred to by the accused was one Yeo Thian Kwee who was arrested by CNB officers on 21 December 1986.
He gave evidence, after which he was cross-examined. It was put to him that he masterminded the whole transaction, that he arranged for the...

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2 cases
  • PP v Mas Swan bin Adnan
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 14 d1 Maio d1 2012
    ...SGHC 266 (refd) PP v Chew Wee Kiat District Arrest Case No 2443 of 2001 and Magistrate's Appeal No 175 of 2001 (refd) PP v Goh Ah Lim [1989] 2 SLR (R) 217; [1989] SLR 832 (refd) PP v Ho So Mui [1993] 1 SLR (R) 57; [1993] 2 SLR 59 (refd) PP v Jiabo Sangwan District Arrest Case No 36103 of 20......
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    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 14 d1 Maio d1 2012 commit offences under the MDA has expounded on the elements of that offence of attempt: see Public Prosecutor v Goh Ah Lim [1989] 2 SLR(R) 217 (attempt to export diamorphine; the accused was arrested at Changi Airport while waiting to board a flight for Australia), Public Prosecutor v Ho......

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