SINGAPORE - A full-time national serviceman (NSF) with the Singapore Police Force allegedly insulted a female colleague's modesty while at a police unit last year.
Jonathan Chua Wei Cong, now 23, is claiming trial to one count each of criminal trespass and insulting a woman's modesty.
The alleged victim cannot be named due to a gag order.
Chua, who has since completed his national service, allegedly committed the offences at around 5pm on March 12 last year.
On the first day of his trial on Thursday (Nov 26), the court heard that Chua allegedly entered a toilet for women at the headquarters before placing his mobile phone at the top of a cubicle door.
A female colleague was in the shower at that point.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Zhi Hao told District Judge Brenda Tan that when the alleged victim saw the top half of the device pointing at her, she shouted.
The perpetrator fled before she could catch a glimpse of him, but the woman told her superiors about the incident and a lockdown was ordered.
Officers then inspected the phones belonging to more than 10 personnel present at the time, the court heard.
The woman gave her in-camera testimony in court on Thursday. This means the hearing was not open to the public, including members of the media.
In a statement after Chua was charged in court last year, police said that officers of the force, including national service officers, are expected to uphold the law and maintain high standards of discipline and integrity.
"Those who commit criminal offences will be charged in court and dealt with in accordance with the law. As the court case is ongoing, we are unable to comment further," added its spokesman.
The trial continues.
For insulting a woman's modesty, an offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined.
SINGAPORE - Temasek Foundation will launch its third nationwide reusable mask distribution exercise from Nov 30 to Dec 13, said the foundation in a statement on Thursday (Nov 26).
All Singapore residents, who have a government-issued ID, can collect one free mask kit each - containing two black masks and three filters - from 10am onwards at around 1,200 vending machines around the island.
They can be found at over 800 locations including bus interchanges, community centres, resident committee centres, Temasek Shophouse and Plaza Singapura.
The mask comes in four sizes of small, medium, large and extra large.
The small size is intended for children aged eightand below. It can only be collected at community centres, Plaza Singapura and Temasek Shophouse.
Full-sized mask sizing guides, that can be cut out, will be published in The Straits Times on Nov 28, Dec 5 and Dec 12.
Temasek chief executive and executive director Ho Ching had announced the distribution of these "breathable antimicrobial 3D masks" from local company Proshield in a Facebook post on Nov 19.
The mask comprises three layers: an outer anti-bacterial layer to repel water droplets, a filter liner and an inner layer to absorb saliva.
It can be used without a filter when one is exercising or in less crowded environments.
The three reusable filters,made from nanofibre fabric, protect wearers from saliva droplets or dust particles.
The filters can be used with the new masks or with other masks that have filter pockets.
Both the masks and filters may be washed up to 50 times, after which the masks will have lower antimicrobial performance.
The public can also order additional mask kits online or through the DBS Paylah! App for $12 each from Nov 30, 10am.
They are advised to purchase additional masks after trying on their free masks to check for fit and size, said Temasek Foundation.
Orders are limited to five mask kits for sizes S and M, as well as no more than 10 mask kits for sizes L and XL.
During Temasek's previous distribution exercise from September to October, around 7.6 million free reusable antimicrobial masks were collected. In its first exercise from June to July, 9.3 million masks were collected.
More information can be found at stayprepared.sg/masks
SINGAPORE - Two men accused of tampering with election posters in separate incidents were charged in a district court on Wednesday (Nov 25).
The two Singaporeans - Lim Song Huat, 48 and Constantine Paul, 51 - were charged with offences under the Parliamentary Elections Act.
The general election in Singapore was held on July 10.
Lim, who faces three charges, was on a service road in Woodlands Street 13 at around 9.30am on July 3, during the campaigning period, when he allegedly used a black pen to draw a horizontal line across a People's Action Party (PAP) poster hung on a lamp post.
He is also accused of using his hands to tear a second PAP poster about 15 minutes later.
Lim is said to have then destroyed a third PAP poster by tearing it with his hands at around 9.47am.
Paul, who faces two charges, allegedly removed two Progress Singapore Party (PSP) posters from lamp posts in Bukit Batok East Avenue 5 at around 8pm on June 30.
In an earlier statement, the police said they had initiated investigations after officers came across an election poster belonging to the PSP at the bottom of a lamp post in Bukit Batok East Avenue 5 at about 1.50am on July 1.
Later that day, the PSP lodged a police report about another damaged party election poster on the same road.
In a Facebook post in July, PSP chief Tan Cheng Bock shared photos of the posters - featuring the party's slate for Chua Chu Kang GRC - lying on a grass verge.
He wrote: "In the heat of campaigning, our emotions can get carried away... Let's remember to keep cool heads."
The PAP team in Aljunied GRC had also posted on its Facebook page a picture of a torn PAP poster featuring its slate for the group representation constituency (GRC).
The court heard on Wednesday that Paul and Lim intend to plead guilty to their offences at their next court appearance on Jan 7 next year.
Under the Act, it is an offence for any person to alter, remove, destroy, obliterate or deface election posters or banners.
For each charge, an offender can be jailed for up to a year or fined up to $1,000.
SINGAPORE - Four men aged between 32 and 41 have been charged for allegedly taking part in an corruption conspiracy involving more than $388,000.
Appearing before a district court on Wednesday (Nov 25), the men - Jeremy Yu Jin Han, 41; Ong Jiajie, 32; Darren Zeng Shao Rong and Isaac Lai Zhi Yao, both 40 - each face seven charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
According to court documents, Zeng, Ong and Lai are said to have conspired together to pay Yu, then a purchasing manager of Lion City Rentals, for advancing the business interests of Aiden Solutions LLP and D&M Capital with Lion City Rentals.
Yu is accused of receiving payments of between $9,766 and $95,000 between March and June in 2016.
According to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) register, Aiden Solutions and D&M Capital were car dealerships.
Aiden Solutions has since been struck off Acra's records.
Lion City Rentals, is a vehicle leasing company previously owned by ride-hailing firm Uber. The car rental company was sold off last year.
Court documents did not reveal the roles Ong, Zeng and Lai played within the companies.
Yu and Lai are scheduled to be in court next on Dec 30. Ong will be in court on Dec 21, and Zhen will be on court on Dec 22.
If they are found guilty the men can be fined up to $100,000, jailed for up to 5 years, or both, for each charge.
SINGAPORE: A 47-year-old Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer was charged on Tuesday (Nov 24) with taking bribes and accepting sexual favours in exchange for helping two Chinese nationals secure Special Passes.
Teo Hwee Peng is alleged to have accepted money and sexual favours from the two women between 2018 and 2019, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said.
One of them, 37-year-old Liang Qinglan, is accused of agreeing to give him an Apple iPhone X, in exchange for a Special Pass so that she could remain in Singapore.
Teo also had sex with Liang and accepted a red packet containing 188.88 yuan (S$38) from her.
The ICA officer subsequently took at least S$2,100 cash and loans amounting to 7,000 yuan (S$1,430) from her as rewards for his help, and they had sex on another occasion, CPIB said.
In July 2019, Teo attempted to obtain about S$1,500 and accepted a massage and masturbation services from another Chinese national, 32-year-old Cheng Wenjuan, also in return for his help in getting her a Special Pass.
“He also corruptly agreed to accept an unspecified amount of money from Cheng in the future as a reward for the said arrangements,” CPIB said.
Cheng is also alleged to have offered Teo about S$500 for help on the Special Pass, which he rejected.
On another occasion on Jul 26, 2019, Cheng offered Teo an unspecified amount of money as an inducement to provide her with information on the arrest status of a person named Hu Youai, CPIB said.
Teo was charged with 12 counts of corruption.
Liang and Cheng were also charged in relation to these incidents.
Liang was handed nine charges of corruption for agreeing to induce or reward Teo for arranging the Special Pass for her, while Cheng was charged with four counts of corruption.
ANOTHER CORRUPTION CASE INVOLVING FAKE ICA OFFICER
In addition, Cheng was charged in a corruption case involving a 42-year-old Singaporean, Kelvin Lim Chee Wee, who was a manager of a motor vehicle workshop.
Lim had allegedly lied to Cheng that he used to work at the immigration department and had friends there who could help Cheng remain in Singapore.
“However, this was not true as Lim had never worked at ICA,” CPIB said.
“Nonetheless, Cheng had allegedly given Lim corrupt gratification in the form of sex and cash as inducements for him to make such arrangements.”
Between May and July last year, Cheng offered Lim sex on eight occasions. She also gave him cash amounting to S$7,000 and 1,000 yuan (S$200) hoping he would arrange for an immigration officer to help her obtain a Special Pass.
Cheng also sought similar arrangements for another woman, Lei Guoxiang. She gave Lim S$2,000 and 3,000 yuan (S$610) to arrange for Lei to be issued a Special Pass.
For these offences, Cheng and Lim were both charged with 14 counts of corruption each.
Anyone convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to S$100,000, jailed for up to five years or both.
SINGAPORE - It was their son's degenerative eye disease that set ophthalmologist Dr Audrey Looi and her neurosurgeon husband Dr Ang Beng Ti on the path of philanthropy.
The couple was devastated around a decade ago to find out that James, now 19, suffers from Stargardt's disease, which causes progressive vision loss, when he was in primary school.
To make matters worse, there was a serious lack of programmes then to support children with low vision in their educational and other needs, Dr Ang, 51, said.
In 2011, the couple set up the charity iC2 PrepHouse, which teaches children with low vision the skills to cope with daily life and supports them to remain in mainstream schools.
They now plan to leave $200,000 or more in their will to set up an endowment fund to support the iC2 PrepHouse's work and to fund scholarships for needy undergraduates of the Singapore Management University (SMU).
James is now a business undergraduate at the SMU. The Angs have two other children, aged 13 and 21.
Dr Looi, 50, said: "So instead of giving it (our wealth) all to our children, we have started thinking about putting aside a part of it for charity. I think we have to be a little less self-focused and to give back to society.
"We told our children that they can contribute to the fund (in future). And I would like to think that our kids can manage without this sum we are giving to charity.
"Long after we are gone, we have this charity that continues to provide help for children with low vision. iC2 PrepHouse is our family legacy."
The couple is one of the donors fronting the "A Greater Gift" campaign in a three-month drive to promote legacy giving that was launched on Tuesday (Nov 24) morning.
The campaign was started by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), a charity which promotes philanthropy here.
Legacy giving is broadly defined as future donations to charity, such as in the form of leaving money or property to charitable causes after one's death.
Ms Catherine Loh, chief executive of the CFS, said the charity has seen more interest in legacy giving in the past few years, by people from different demographic groups including singles and married couples without children.
However, she added that Singaporeans' interest in legacy giving lags behind Western societies, noting that it is taboo in Asian cultures to talk about death and even writing wills.
She said it is changing though.
"People think that legacy giving is only for the very rich. But we want to tell people, nothing is too small. We want to change this concept that it's only for the very rich.
"Another thing people think is that if they give a legacy gift, their children will not have anything. We want to say it's not an either all (situation) and they can consider leaving a part of it (their wealth) to charity," added Ms Loh.
While there are the uber rich who are leaving millions to charity after their death, some charities have also received as little as $10,000 from a person's estate, she said.
The CFS will provide resources to help charities engage their donors on legacy giving, among its efforts to boost this form of philanthropy here.
Besides the Angs, the other donors who are part of the campaign include Member of Parliament and lawyer Nadia Ahmad Samdin, 30, and venture capitalist Hian Goh, 46.
In their campaign video, Ms Nadia said she went to school with the help of financial assistance and now wants to help at risk youth, while Mr Goh wants to create opportunities for innovators to reach their full potential.
Mr Goh is a co-founder of the Asian Food Channel, a pay-television channel now known as the Asian Food Network.
SINGAPORE: Employees at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have donated more than 20,000 days worth of unused leave towards student aid and endowments, said the university on Monday (Nov 23).
The collective 20,145 days of annual leave are worth S$10.25 million, said NTU in its media release.
The donations were made by 1,821 faculty and staff, with each employee contributing an average of 11 days. The highest donation was 15 days of leave.
NTU said the donation exercise was a new initiative that allowed employees to put their unutilised leave "towards a good cause".
"As part of the opt-in exercise, all NTU employees were given the option to voluntarily redeem their unutilised earned annual leave value, based on each individual’s salary rates, for donation to an NTU fund of their choice," added the university.
On average, NTU employees are given between 21 and 42 days of annual leave depending on their employment scheme and length of service.
Another round of the opt-in leave donation exercise will be held in October next year.
NTU senior vice president (administration) Tan Aik Na said the donations showed how the university's community was invested in the success and wellbeing of its students.
"Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19, but some have been hit harder than others. Some of our students' parents have lost their jobs or have had their income reduced.
"So, it is doubly important during the pandemic for us to rally our support ... to help these students," said Ms Tan.
Dr Babu Narayanswamy, who gave 14 of his leave days in cash value, said he planned to donate again next year.
“I consider myself one of the fortunate ones to have a job that has not been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic," said the materials scientist and director at the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute.
"While the Government has been doing all it can, I believe this is the time for those of us who can, to pitch in and help in whatever way possible," said Dr Babu.
Earlier this year, NTU launched a S$2 million fund to support students affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Eligible students are able to receive an interest-free advance of up to S$1,500 which they have to reimburse to the university within two years after graduation.
SINGAPORE: The trial of a Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officer accused of assaulting a suspect to extort a drug confession from him opened on Monday (Nov 23).
Vengedesh Raj Nainar Nagarajan, who has since been suspended, is contesting three charges of voluntarily causing hurt to Sivabalan Kanniappan in 2017 to extort a confession from him.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Han Ming Kuang said Sivabalan was arrested in the early hours of Jan 2, 2017 for drug importation at Woodlands Checkpoint.
The 34-year-old Malaysian man was detained at the checkpoint after an officer discovered drugs concealed in a raincoat on Sivabalan's motorcycle.
Sivabalan cooperated and did not put up a struggle, and was handed over to the Woodlands CNB team. Vengedesh was part of an additional support team that was activated at about 5am that day, the court heard.
"New Year's Day fell on a Sunday, so the second of January was also a public holiday," said Mr Han.
Vengedesh, now 33, was a narcotics officer with CNB holding the rank of corporal at the time.
"When the accused arrived at Woodlands Checkpoint just before 6am, Sivabalan had not admitted to the offence," sad Mr Han.
"The prosecution will show that the accused brought Sivabalan to the toilet on three separate occasions. On each of the occasions, acting on his own accord, in violation of CNB protocols and the law, the accused assaulted Sivabalan for the purpose of extorting from him a confession in relation to the drug offence."
According to charge sheets, Vengedesh kicked, punched and slapped Sivabalan in the toilet at the Woodlands Checkpoint CNB office between 5.58am and 9.30am.
The prosecution intends to call a total of 18 witnesses including CNB and police officers. They will also tender closed-circuit television footage and statements from Vengedesh.
CNB investigated the incident after Sivabalan made allegations of assault, and suspended Vengedesh from October 2019.
Sivabalan was later convicted of a drug offence and is currently serving a 15-year jail term. He was also given caning.
Vengedesh is defended by lawyer Peter Fernando. He faces other charges that have been set aside for the time being, including for cursing at the police.
If convicted of voluntarily causing hurt to extort a confession, he could be jailed for up to seven years and fined or caned.
SYDNEY: Australian military personnel who spoke out against alleged war crimes in Afghanistan said on Friday (Nov 20) that they felt vindicated by an inquiry which called for the possible prosecution of troops, as the country reacted with shame and anger at the findings' severity.
A report published on Thursday found that Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan, with senior commandos forcing junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives in order to "blood" them for combat.
The report recommended referring 19 current and former soldiers for potential prosecution, in a development that prompted anguish in Australia, which usually honours its military history with fervour.
David McBride, a former military lawyer facing charges of leaking information about special forces actions in Afghanistan, felt "buoyed" by the report after years of being treated like a "traitor to the diggers", his lawyer Mark Davis told Reuters, using the Australian slang for soldiers.
"If the accusations that he's previously made are proven right, he will feel vindicated whatever the penalty," Davis said by telephone. "His reputation will be intact and his sense of honour will be intact."
McBride has confirmed giving classified documents to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), triggering charges against him and an investigation into the public broadcaster which sensationally led to a raid on its Sydney headquarters last year.
Police dropped the ABC investigation last month, citing a lack of public interest in proceeding, but McBride still faces a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty after a trial starting next year. His charges must now also be dropped, said his lawyer Davis.
Dusty Miller, a special forces medic who testified at the inquiry, told the ABC that hearing the country's defence chief publicly confirm his claims was "complete vindication".
The report has been described by Australian leaders as one of the darkest military chapters for Australia, just nine days after the country's Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers when it is customary to wear a red poppy to show respect.
Top lawmakers walked a delicate line of condemning the allegations of the report and supporting the possibility of prosecutions, while expressing solidarity with the country's armed forces.
"It made me physically ill, and it was a very distressing read," said Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, a former army officer.
"I know that it certainly didn't represent my service ... and it certainly doesn't represent the majority of men and women who have and continue to serve our nation with such great distinction."
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the allegations were "very serious but they should not overshadow the immense good work that is being done by the defence forces in our name".
Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned earlier that the report would be troubling for Australia and its military but has not commented since its publication.
Overnight, the office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Twitter that Morrison had "expressed his deepest sorrow" over the allegations.
Reynolds said last week that Canberra had been advised that local prosecution would negate charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
People in Kabul, the Afghan capital, welcomed the prospect of bringing perpetrators to justice, but were divided on the question of where.
"They who have committed such a big crime must be handed to face the law of Afghanistan and should be punished accordingly," said Abdul Mutahal, a resident of Kabul.
Mohammad Isaaq Faiaz, a Shia imam, said the alleged perpetrators "should be brought to justice in Australia, and the affected families of those martyred must be paid with the ransom".
SYDNEY: South Australia's drastic six-day lockdown was triggered by a "lie" to contact tracers from a single individual and restrictions across the state would now be lifted much sooner than first planned, authorities said on Friday (Nov 20).
The shock announcement came just two days after the state government ordered people to stay at home and shut many businesses to combat what was considered a highly contagious outbreak of coronavirus.
South Australia state Premier Steven Marshall told a media conference that one man at a pizza bar tied to the outbreak had lied to contact tracers, claiming he had only bought a pizza there when he was actually working at the shop.
Authorities had thought he had caught the virus during a very short exposure, when in fact he had been working several shifts with another positive case.
Because of the lie, authorities believed the strain of virus was highly contagious, taking 24 hours or less for a newly infected person to become infectious to others.
"To say I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement," Marshall told stunned reporters. "This selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation."
While the outbreak was still worrying, Marshall said restrictions would be lifted early with the stay-at-home order ending at midnight on Saturday when most businesses would also be allowed to open.
The state, home to about 1.8 million people, has recorded 25 cases from the latest cluster, linked to a returned traveller from the UK.
The number of new cases were still expected to rise over the next few days, but the outbreak was not as alarming as first feared.