Tay Choon Hock v Public Prosecutor

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeCarol Ling Feng Yong
Published date19 September 2003


Grounds of Decision


1. The Accused pleaded guilty to 2 charges under the Films Act:

a) MAC 7169/2000 - for carrying on a business of distributing VCDs without a valid licence, an offence under section 6(1)(a) of the Films Act, Cap 107, punishable under section 6(2) of the same; &

b) MAC 7171/2000 for having in his possession for the purpose of distribution, 189 obscene films, having reasonable cause to believe them to be obscene, an offence under section 29(3)(a) of the Films Act, Cap 107.

2. One other charge, for attempting to distribute uncensored and uncertificated VCDs were taken into consideration. All the charges were read with the common intention element.

Statement of Facts

3. The Accused admitted without qualification to the Statement of Facts presented by the Prosecution.

4. The SOF essentially stated that on 16 July 1998, arresting officers observed the Accused and his accomplice manning a makeshift stall where VCDs were laid. They were seen distributing the VCDs, believed to be obscene. A report from the Board of Film Censors confirmed that the Accused did not have a licence to distribute the VCDs and amongst the VCDs seized, there were 189 obscene films. Accused had reasonable cause to believe them to be obscene.


5. Accused has previous convictions for gaming and offences under the Road Traffic Act.


6. Counsels short mitigation informed the Court that the Accused has turned to selling VCDs due to financial difficulties. Accused was remorseful and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. Most importantly, Counsel urged the Court not to impose a custodial sentence but to give the Accused a fine.


7. The punishment prescribed for each of the proceeding charges gave the Court the discretion to impose either a fine (subject to the mandatory minimum and the overall aggregate), imprisonment or both.

8. In this case, the Accused was found in possession for purposes of distribution, not 20, not 50, not even 100 but 189 obscene VCDs! Simple mathematics would show that even if I were to impose on him the minimum fine of $2000 per film, the total fine imposed for this charge would far exceed the overall...

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