SINGAPORE: An Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) officer who broke the law by obtaining sexual favours from immigration offenders was sentenced to three years' jail on Wednesday (Jan 2).
Staff Sergeant Chin Peng Sum, 51, also gave information to three women from China about impending raids as he wanted to give the impression of protecting them.
Calling the case "most disconcerting", District Judge Jasbendar Kaur said there was an "extensive abuse of power and trust".
Chin, who had worked with the authority for about 20 years, undermined ICA's immigration control and acted with persistence and deliberation, she said.
Chin had met the three women between end-2016 and early 2017 while he was working. The women had been arrested for immigration offences and were on Special Passes while their cases were ongoing.
He approached two of them for massage services and sexual favours, and tipped the three women off about raids as he did not want them to be caught.
It was only when one of the three women was arrested for vice activities that messages revealing Chin's involvement were found, she added.
Chin's culpability, along with the harm caused, were on the high end of the spectrum, said the judge.
She took into consideration Chin's mitigation plea, which listed the numerous awards he had won in his time with ICA, along with his regret for his actions and his genuine remorse.
However, due to the aggravating factors, she found "no significant mitigating factors".
Chin's actions resulted in obstruction of justice, the judge said, and there is "a very strong public interest in this case".
It is "totally unacceptable for public servants to abuse the trust placed in them", and it is "absolutely necessary to demonstrate the courts' firm and uncompromising stance" in such cases, she said.
The judge allowed Chin five minutes to speak to his family after the hearing, before beginning his sentence.
ICA said in a statement that Chin has been suspended since June 2017. After he was convicted last week, the authority said it would begin civil service disciplinary proceedings against him, with a view to dismissing him from service.