Public Prosecutor v Wong Wai Hung and Another

JudgeMPH Rubin JC
Judgment Date19 September 1992
Neutral Citation[1992] SGHC 246
Docket NumberCriminal Case No 21 of 1991
Date19 September 1992
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselHan Cher Kwang with Salina bte Ishak (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Citation[1992] SGHC 246
Defendant CounselSant Singh (briefed) (Sant Singh & Partners) with Edward D'Souza (assigned) (Edward D'Souza & Co),Chadra Mohan with Chuan Wee Meng (assigned) (Tan Rajah & Cheah)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject MatterWords and Phrases,Statutory offences,Common intention,What constitutes attempt to export,s 34 Penal Code (Cap 224),Criminal Law,Interpretation Act (Cap 1),Complicity,Attempt to export,Exporting controlled drugs,Accused arrested at departure gate before boarding flight,s 7 Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185),'Export',ss 7 & 12m Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185),Misuse of Drugs Act,Extent to which common intention can be inferred from circumstantial evidence

Cur Adv Vult


Wong Wai Hung (`Wong`), a male, 32 years of age, the first accused, and Ho So Mui (`Ho`), a female, 30 years of age, the second accused, both Hong Kong nationals were tried before me on a joint charge that they on or about 5 November 1988 at about 11pm at the departure gate C35, Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore, in furtherance of their common intention, did attempt to export from Singapore 32 blocks of drugs containing not less than 4,594.65g of diamorphine without any authorization under the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185) (`the Act`) or any regulations made thereunder and they thereby committed an offence under ss 7 and 12 of the Act read with s 34 of the Penal Code.
The said offence is punishable under s 33 of the Act.

The prosecution opened its case by stating that as respects Wong, the prosecution would be invoking the presumption contained in s 18(2) of the Act which provides that any person who is proved or presumed to have controlled drugs in his possession shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed to have known the nature of the drug.

As against the second accused, the learned DPP stated that he would be invoking the presumption under s 18(4) of the Act which provides that `where one of two or more persons with the knowledge and consent of the rest has any controlled drug in his possession, it shall be deemed to be in possession of each and all of them.

The learned DPP amplified that the prosecution would prove that the first accused was found in possession of drugs and such possession was with the knowledge and consent of the second accused.
Consequently, the drugs should be deemed to be in the possession of each and both of them.

The prosecution produced altogether 42 witnesses out of which 34 gave oral evidence.

The principal witnesses for the prosecution included the surveillance team comprising Mr Seow Lai Watt (PW27), Mr Yeoh Seng Hock (PW28) and Mr Andrew Lim Cheng Long (PW30); the SATS check-in officer Miss Rukhsama Begum (PW21); the immigration officer Miss Mayapathy d/o Ramasamy (PW20); the security screening officers, Mr Chua Chiu Huak (PW23) and Mr Ngiam Kia Teck (PW26), the investigation officer Mr Lim Chei Yoo (PW32); the interpreters, Mr Wu Nan Yong (PW31) and Mr Siew Lai Lone (PW33); the left baggage counter clerk Miss Doris Tan Hoon Kiang (PW5); and Dr Saw Chwee Guan (PW15), the government scientific officer.
In addition, the prosecution produced statements recorded from both accused persons under s 122(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code (`CPC`) and further statements recorded from them under s 121 of the CPC. All in all, the prosecution relied on one cautioned statement and three `long` statements in respect of each accused person. All the statements were admitted in evidence as having been made voluntarily, without objection and without the need for a trial within a trial.

It must be observed that the prosecution, during the conduct of the proceedings, made it known to the court that all those statements recorded were not confessions and they contained only admissions.
The learned prosecutor also informed the court at various stages that the prosecution would not be relying on one accused`s statement against the other to prove its case.

Prosecution evidence

The prosecution led evidence that senior narcotics officer Seow Lai Watt was instructed on 5 November 1988 by his superior, Lee Tai Huat, to conduct a preliminary investigation on a Hong Kong couple named Wong WH and Ho So Mui. Seow was told that both Wong and Ho were suspected of carrying drugs and were expected to leave Singapore by SIA flight SQ36 for Zurich at 10.30pm that night. Consequently, Seow instructed his subordinate, Yeoh Seng Hock to conduct discreet enquiries.

Yeoh`s enquiries confirmed that both suspected persons (the first and second accused persons) were booked on flight SQ36 to leave for Zurich.
Presently, Yeoh and Andrew Lim Cheng Long were ordered to mount a surveillance on the two persons with a view to identifying their contacts and effect arrest when necessary.

The help of the airport staff responsible for checking-in passengers was enlisted by Yeoh.
He arranged with Rukhsana Begum to give him a signal when Wong and Ho arrived at the counter for boarding. Incidentally, the departure time of flight SQ36 was delayed from 10.30pm on 5 November 1988 to 12.15am on 6 November 1988.

Rukhsana Begum upon being informed that Ho, the female accused, was at the check-in counter, gave the pre-arranged signal to Yeoh.
As it happened, the female accused went to the counter to check in for both herself and the male accused. Whilst she did so, the male accused was found seated on the front row of seats at the lounge away from the check-in counter.

The suspects having been identified, the surveillance arrangement went into full gear.
Both accused persons were trailed. They were seen walking towards the direction of the transit lounge. The female accused had a sling bag slung over her shoulder and the male accused was pushing a trolley. The trolley contained a grey `Puma` bag (exh P53), a plastic bag with the inscription `G-2000` (exh P54) and a `Louis Vuitton` bag (exh P55). Before they entered the transit lounge, the female accused took the `Louis Vuitton` bag in her hand and the male accused carried the other two bags. Both accused persons passed through the security check area and were cleared by the Immigration staff.

The immigration officer who cleared both of them on that day was Mayapathy d/o Ramasamy.
Her evidence was that when both accused persons were at the immigration counter, the female accused was looking down and the male accused was hesitant about giving his passport to the immigration officer for clearance. Their appearance raised suspicions which prompted her to check the black list index twice. In the end, they were both cleared. According to the witness, apart from that, there was nothing unusual about them.

The cumulative evidence of Seow, Yeoh and Andrew Lim Cheng Long was that the two accused persons then proceeded towards gate C35 which was the departure gate for flight SQ36.
(There was considerable overlapping in the evidence of all three. There were indeed a few minor differences and discrepancies on some details but on material issues, their evidence converged.)

When the accused persons reached gate C35, there were no passengers waiting to board the flight on account perhaps of the delay in the departure of the flight until 12.15am on 6 November 1988.

The surveillance and trailing were done at various stages by Seow, Yeoh and Andrew Lim Cheng Long.
Both accused, having reached gate C35, were seen occupying seats outside the said gate. At that time, Seow, leaving Yeoh and Andrew Lim Cheng Long to keep a watch on both accused persons, went to take a position near the children`s playground some distance away from gate C35.

Just around 9.40pm, the male accused was seen walking back from gate C35 towards the direction of the left baggage counter situated close to the immigration counters.
He was trailed by Yeoh. The male accused then went to that left baggage counter and later emerged with two bags - one a black `Gucci` bag (exh P52) and the other a brown plastic bag (exh P53A). The entry into the left baggage counter and the return of the male accused with the black `Gucci` bag and the brown plastic bag were observed by Yeoh. He then saw the male accused proceeding direct to gate C35. On his way back, the male accused walked past the children`s playground where Seow was. The return of the male accused with the bags (particularly the black `Gucci` bag) was also observed by Andrew Lim Cheng Long who was then about 70m from gate C35.

According to Yeoh and Andrew Lim Cheng Long, when the male accused returned with the black `Gucci` bag, he did not stop or enter any other area in the airport but went directly to where the female accused was seated.
After a brief period, the male accused was seen carrying the black `Gucci` bag and proceeding towards the toilet which was situated near gate C35.

The male accused entered the toilet followed, shortly thereafter, by Andrew Lim Cheng Long.
Upon his entry into the toilet, Andrew Lim Cheng Long found that only one of the cubicles was occupied and no other persons were in the toilet. He then went out of the toilet and positioned himself outside it waiting for the male accused to emerge. Ten minutes or so later, the accused came out of the toilet. He was perspiring. He was still carrying the black `Gucci` bag and was seen returning to gate C35 where he joined the female accused.

Yeoh and Andrew Lim Cheng Long were certain that the male accused after he collected the black `Gucci` bag and brown plastic bag from the left baggage counter had first returned to gate C35 with his jacket slung over his left arm.
Both of them further testified that they saw the male accused making an entry into the toilet only after he had first gone to gate C35. Both witnesses denied the suggestion by the defence that the male accused entered the toilet on his way to gate C35.

After the male accused`s return from the toilet, both accused persons waited outside gate C35.
Andrew Lim Cheng Long kept a constant vigil on both accused persons to find out whether any contact was going to be made by either or both of them. In his evidence, Andrew Lim Cheng Long said that except for an occasional face turn, his attention was at all times focused on both accused persons. He did not see whether there was any movement of clothes from one bag to another or whether the second accused came into contact with the black `Gucci` bag. Yeoh, who was also observing the two persons, left the watch briefly to go to the security screening unit (`SSU`) office situated quite near to gate C35 to make arrangements for him to be with the screening officers inside the screening room at the time both accused persons would be entering the room for security check and screening of...

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