Tay Hai Choon v Public Prosecutor

JudgeHoo Sheau Peng
Judgment Date15 January 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGDC 10
Published date19 April 2005
Citation[2001] SGDC 10
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)

Tay Hai Choon ...appellant


Public Prosecutor ...respondent

Citation: MA No 273 of 2000/01
DAC No 36766 - 36779 of 2000
Jurisdiction: Singapore
Date: 2001:01:15
2000:10:06, 2000:09:22, 2000:09:21
Court: Subordinate Courts
Coram: Hoo Sheau Peng, DJ
Counsel: Gurdip Singh & Jagit (George Sandosham, Gurdip & Partners) for the appellant
April Phang (Deputy Public Prosecutor) for the Public Prosecutor


Grounds of Decision

The appellant faced 14 charges under s 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Cap 241) (‘the Act’) for corruptly giving gratification to one Yusof Bin A Samad (‘Yusof’), a police officer designated as the police hearse driver at the material time, as an inducement for Yusof to show favour to the appellant in relation to his principal’s affairs, by supplying the appellant with the addresses of deceased persons to be brought to the mortuary in the police hearse by Yusof. The total gratification involved was $10,900.

2. The appellant claimed trial to the charges. At the end of the trial, I convicted him of the offences. I sentenced him to six months’ imprisonment on each charge, with the sentences on the first and second charges to run consecutively, with the other charges to run concurrently. The total imprisonment term was 12 months. These are my reasons for the decision.

Prosecution case

(i) Yusof Bin A Samad (PW1)

3. Yusof was serving sentence at Khalsa Crescent Drug Rehabilitation Centre (‘Khalsa Crescent DRC’). On 24 December 1999, after a four-day trial, Yusof was convicted of 14 charges of corruptly accepting gratification from the appellant, mirroring the charges faced by the appellant, and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, with a penalty of $10,900, in default of which he was to serve two months’ imprisonment. On 3 August 2000, his appeal was dismissed by the High Court. An extract of the record of proceedings was admitted and marked Exh P15.

4. Before his conviction and sentence, Yusof was a police officer. From sometime in 1995, he was posted to the patrol team of Tanglin Police Station. In that capacity, he was deployed as a police hearse driver. In March 1998, he was promoted, and posted out. The charges of which he was convicted took place when he was deployed as a police hearse driver. Referring to these charges as found in Exh P15, Yusof confirmed that the person named ‘Tay Hai Choon @ Roland Tay’ who gave him gratification was the appellant. Yusof knew the appellant as a boss in the funeral parlour business.

5. In the course of his work as a police hearse driver, Yusof was activated to clear the bodies of deceased persons, classified as cases for the coroner, to the Singapore General Hospital Mortuary (‘the mortuary’). When he was called upon to attend to such a case, he would be informed of the location of the body. He would proceed to pick up two workers from Tong Aik Undertakers Pte Ltd (‘Tong Aik’), a company which had a contract to supply two workers to the police force to clear bodies of deceased persons. After picking the workers up, Yusof would proceed to the location. After meeting the officer at the scene and confirming that the body of the deceased person had to be carried away, Yusof transported the body to the mortuary. He would be the last in line of duty within the police force to be informed of the location of the body.

6. Yusof saw the appellant at the mortuary frequently. When Yusof asked the workers who the appellant was, they told him the appellant was a big boss who had a funeral parlour business. At that time, Yusof was not really introduced to the appellant. There was a passing acknowledgment when they met at the mortuary. Then, one day, Yusof wanted to meet the appellant. A friend, named Richard Liaw, later identified to be one Liaw Thian Kiew (‘Richard’), working as a mortuary attendant at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (‘TTSH’), brought him to see the appellant. Richard was a close friend of Yusof’s, even before Yusof became a police hearse driver. When Yusof was deployed as a police hearse driver, they became closer. They talked a lot, including discussions about financial difficulties and problems.

7. Yusof wanted to meet the appellant to see if the appellant could lend him money. Their first meeting was at a coffee shop in the Geylang area, but Yusof could not remember the actual place. Richard accompanied him. Yusof insisted on meeting the appellant, and Richard called the appellant. Richard did not tell the appellant why they wanted to meet him. Then, they drove to the coffee shop in the police hearse.

8. At the coffee shop, Yusof met the appellant. Richard did not sit with them. He just acknowledged the appellant. Richard went to buy a packet drink, and walked back to the vehicle. Yusof mentioned his intention of borrowing $500 to the appellant. Without much questioning, Yusof was given the money in cash. Yusof told the appellant that he would repay the money. The appellant did not ask him when or how he would pay. Then, they exchanged their contact numbers. Five to 10 minutes later, Yusof left with Richard.

9. Sometime after the meeting, Yusof attended to a case. Before he went to the scene, the officer at the scene asked Yusof if he had any contact for a private doctor to certify the death of the deceased person. Yusof gave the appellant a call and spoke about the request for a private doctor. Yusof did not proceed to remove the body of the deceased person.

10. About two to three days after that, there was a meeting between the appellant and Yusof in the Toa Payoh Central area. The appellant arranged for the meeting. At the meeting, after enquiring the nature of Yusof’s work as a police hearse driver, the appellant said Yusof could call him to give him addresses of deceased persons. Yusof could also inform him if a private doctor was required. The particulars of the deceased persons could help the appellant in his funeral parlour business. For this arrangement, the appellant was willing to pay Yusof $600 a month. Yusof had to call the appellant after the third day of each month to collect his pay. Subsequently, Yusof did not repay the loan. He was not asked to. He did not borrow any more money from the appellant. The appellant paid him money according to their arrangement.

11. Yusof referred to the charges in Exhibit P15. The first charge specified the loan of $500 obtained at the coffee shop. After that meeting, every month, Yusof collected $600 from the appellant. There were times when Yusof did not collect any payments for two to three months. Subsequently, Yusof would ask for a lump sum. The second to the fifth charges specified four sums of $600 collected for four months. As for the sixth charge, it specified a payment of $2,000 as payment for two months given in February 1996. It was a larger sum probably because it was the festive season, and Yusof needed extra cash. The seventh charge referred to a sum of $200 given as an ang pow for Chinese New Year. The eighth to the tenth charges specified the regular payments of $600 per month. The eleventh charge specified a payment for three months as Yusof did not collect payments for July, August and September 1996. For the twelfth charge, the sum was reduced to $500. Yusof accepted whatever the appellant gave him. It was just pay to him. The thirteenth charge specified a sum of $1,000 for the months of December 1996 and January 1997. The appellant started giving Yusof only $500 instead of $600 probably because Yusof was travelling less in the police hearse during that time. The particulars he provided were fewer. The fourteenth charge was the last payment Yusof received under the arrangement given in March 1997. Thereafter, Yusof was no longer deployed as a police hearse driver.

12. Yusof told a friend, but not his colleagues about the arrangement. Yusof did not tell his supervisors in the police force about the arrangement. He was working part time, which was not allowed by the organization.

13. In cross-examination, Yusof said that after March 1997, he came into contact with the appellant as well, but not as often as before. The appellant called him to enquire about the police contract of supplying labour to the police hearse.

14. Sometime in May 1999, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (‘CPIB’) called up Yusof. An officer with the surname Chin interviewed him. Yusof was asked if he knew a person called Roland Tay, and about their dealings. After some questioning, when Yusof was asked if he took a loan from the appellant, Yusof said he did. He admitted to Chin he had taken a loan of $500. Subsequently, Yusof was asked if there were any other loans. He said there were another two loans, each of $2,000. He said that he took in total three loans from the appellant, amounting to $5,000. Another sum of $200 was mentioned as an ang pow. Later, Yusof corrected himself and said that he told the CPIB that the first loan was $1,000. Yusof admitted to the CPIB that he took loans from the appellant because he was in financial difficulties. Yusof’s statement recorded that day was admitted and marked Exh D1, after Yusof confirmed that it was made voluntary.

15. The relevant paragraphs of Exh D1 read:

4. Sometime in Aug 96 when I was still a police hearse driver, I was in some financial difficulty and I approached one of the undertakers by the name of Richard for a loan…Accordingly, Richard brought me to see Roland Tay at a coffeeshop located at Geylang area. Richard merely brought me there and left it to me to talk to Roland Tay personally. I asked Roland Tay for a loan of $1,000 and he agreed and on the spot took out $1,000 in cash (all in the denomination of $50) and handed it to me. After I had received the money, Roland Tay told me that there was no hurry to make the repayment to him and he then asked me whether I could assist him in his undertaker’s business. I asked him what was it and he asked...

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