Sim Teck Ho v Public Prosecutor

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeChao Hick Tin JA
Judgment Date23 August 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGCA 44
Citation[2000] SGCA 44
Subject MatterPhysical possession,Controlled Drugs,Knowledge of drugs,Whether accused in physical control of drugs,Plastic bag with drugs placed in flat's storeroom,Criminal Law,Whether element of knowledge proved,Accused given plastic bag by ex-prison mate,Whether ignorance of contents of plastic bag a defence,Possession of drugs,Flat occupied and visited by others,Trafficking,Offences
Plaintiff CounselChua Teck Leong and Nicolas Aw (Derrick Ravi Partnership)
Defendant CounselJaswant Singh (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No 11 of 2000
Date23 August 2000

(delivering the grounds of judgment of the court): The appellant was convicted in the High Court on the following charge:

That you Sim Teck Ho, on 11 November 1999, at or about 1pm, at Blk 644 Yishun Street 61 [num ]07-312, Singapore, did traffic in a controlled drug specified in Class `A` of the First Schedule to the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185), to wit, by having in your possession for the purpose of trafficking seven (7) plastic packets containing not less than 130.46 g of diamorphine at the aforesaid place without any authorisation under the said Act or the Regulations made thereunder, and you have thereby committed an offence under s 5(1)(a) read with s 5(2) and punishable under s 33 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185).

He appealed against his conviction. We heard his appeal and dismissed it. We now give our reasons.

The facts

In the early afternoon of 11 November 1999, at about 1pm, a team of Central Narcotic Bureau (`CNB`) officers raided a HDB flat at Block 644, Yishun Street 61, [num ]07-312 (`the flat`). The flat was occupied by the appellant`s two brothers, Sim Soon Leong (`Soon Leong`) and Sim Hai Huat (`Hai Huat`), and his mother, Mdm Tan Soh Gek (`Mdm Tan`). The appellant and his other brother Sim Teck Leong were staying there temporarily. The appellant had a rented flat in Sin Ming Industrial Estate, but had been living with his mother at the flat for one or two months before the raid. Mdm Tan, Soon Leong and the appellant were in the flat at the time of the raid.

After entering the flat, the CNB officers placed the appellant under arrest on suspicion of having consumed a controlled drug. They then conducted a search of the flat. Sgt Harry Ong Keng Leng (`Sgt Harry Ong`) found a Watson`s plastic bag (`the bag`) in the storeroom, placed between two red pails on the floor beneath the shelves. The bag contained seven packets of yellow granular substance. Insp Lee Chai Hwa (`Insp Lee`) pointed to the bag and asked the appellant in Hokkien what it was. The appellant replied that he did not know. Insp Lee then asked who it belonged to. The appellant replied that it belonged to `Ah Bei`, a Malaysian, and that he was keeping it for Ah Bei. Insp Lee asked the appellant why he was keeping the stuff for Ah Bei, and the appellant answered that he made $350 for keeping it. The seven packets were subsequently sent to the Department of Scientific Services for analysis and were found to contain no less than 130.46 g of diamorphine.

ASP Fan Tuck Chee (`ASP Fan`) arrived at the flat at 3pm. He asked the appellant six questions, including how Ah Beh could be contacted. In the process, it was revealed that the appellant had Ah Beh`s telephone number. A piece of paper with the number 020167527126 and the Chinese letters for `Ah Bei` was retrieved from the appellant. That number was subsequently ascertained to be a Malaysian telephone number. Attempts to contact Ah Bei with that number were unsuccessful.

In his voluntary statements to the police, the appellant gave an account of how he had come about the bag. On 9 November 1999, two nights before his arrest, the appellant was at the coffeshop at Blk 605 Yishun, where he worked as a hawker assistant. Sometime after 9pm, the public telephone at the coffeeshop rang. The appellant picked up the phone. A male voice at the other end asked for `Teh Oh`, which was the appellant`s nickname. The person introduced himself as Ah Beh. When the appellant said that he did not know him, Ah Beh said that the appellant would recognise him if they met. Ah Beh told him that he was one of the appellant`s former prison inmates, but the appellant could not recall who Ah Beh was. Ah Beh then told the appellant that his worker would pass the appellant something to keep and that somebody else would collect the thing a few days later. The worker would also pass the...

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10 cases
  • Ali bin Mohamad Bahashwan v PP
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 5 March 2018
    ...R v Murphy [1981] AJ No 22 (folld) R v Tyrrell [1894] 1 QB 710 (folld) R v Rousseau (1991) 70 CCC (3d) 445 (refd) Sim Teck Ho v PP [2000] 2 SLR(R) 959; [2000] 4 SLR 39 (folld) US v Daniels 653 F 3d 399 (2011) (refd) Facts On 23 October 2012, Ali bin Mohamad Bahashwan (“Ali”) told his flatma......
  • Zainal bin Hamad v Public Prosecutor and another appeal
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 3 October 2018
    ...In support of his first argument on possession, Mr Fernando relied on the authority of the Court of Appeal in Sim Teck Ho v PP [2000] 2 SLR(R) 959 (“Sim Teck Ho”) for the proposition that to prove the fact of possession, it is necessary to prove not just that there was physical control of t......
  • Adili Chibuike Ejike v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 27 May 2019 mean not just physical possession or custody but also to incorporate an element of knowledge (Sim Teck Ho v Public Prosecutor [2000] 2 SLR(R) 959 (“Sim Teck Ho”) at [11]). This raises a question as to the sort of knowledge that would have to be shown in order to sustain a finding that th......
  • Mohd Sharif bin Ibrahim v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 2 February 2002 is not sufficient to prove "possession" within the meaning of the Act: e.g., Tan Ah Tee v PP [1978-1979] SLR 211 and Sim Teck Ho v PP [2000] 4 SLR 39. There must be mens rea, namely, knowledge on the part of the accused of the thing itself, namely, the drugs, though not the name nor the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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