SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man admitted on Monday (Aug 26) that he had given a bribe to obtain a driving licence in Malaysia, driven vehicles with fake Malaysian licence plates in Singapore and incurred parking fines, as well as a string of other related offences.
Zhang Weida, 35, pleaded guilty to 30 charges, most of which are traffic-related.
The court heard that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) had been investigating him for various offences when they found two Malaysian driving licences inside his black BMW.
Investigations found that Zhang had paid an unknown contact RM7,000 (S$2,310) in order to obtain a genuine Malaysia-issued driving licence in 2009.
Zhang said he had been introduced to this person by a friend in Kuala Lumpur, and the contact claimed he knew someone from the Road Transport Department of Malaysia.
"The accused (Zhang) understood this to mean that the unknown contact would bribe an unknown Malaysian government official to obtain the said driving licence without the accused having to take any driving test. He was agreeable to such a course of action," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew.
He paid the contact the money via Western Union transfers and collected the licence in his name from another person at a Sheng Siong outlet in Singapore that year.
After he was nabbed, Zhang admitted that he had not taken any driving or theory tests in Malaysia to get the licence.
A police officer investigating Zhang discovered that he had bought and driven two cars bearing Malaysia-registered licence plates in Singapore, even though he does not have a qualified driving licence.
The Suzuki Swift Sport and BMW 320i were impounded in May last year by the Urban Redevelopment Authority due to outstanding parking fines.
LICENCE PLATES WERE FAKE
After seizing the vehicles, LTA vehicle engineers found that the licence plates for both cars were fake and that they had previously been registered in Singapore.
Zhang had bought the Suzuki Swift from a Malaysian car dealer and owned it since April last year.
In that same month, he drove the car with its false licence plate along the Pan Island Expressway and passed through an Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantry without an in-vehicle unit installed.
Because of the outstanding ERP and parking fines Zhang incurred while using the vehicle, the owner of the Malaysia-registered car with the real corresponding licence plate numbers was stopped and denied entry into Singapore at Woodlands Checkpoint.
The owner, a woman identified as Ms Wong in court documents, had also received letters from URA asking her to settle the fines. She lodged a police report and had to prove her innocence to the authorities.
Zhang had bought the BMW from a Malaysian car dealer, and had it since May 2017. The car, which also had false licence plates, was booked for illegal parking violations on three different occasions in 2018 in Singapore.
Zhang was also booked in February 2017 for parking a Lexus with a Malaysia-registered licence plate illegally along Jalan Sultan.
He later admitted to using a foreign-registered vehicle and other various traffic offences.
USED FORGED DOCUMENTS TO EXTEND SEX WORKER'S STAY
Zhang also pleaded guilty to using forged documents in a bid to extend the stay of a sex worker from China whom he was living with in Singapore.
He had paid an unidentified man 500 yuan (S$97) per forged document, which he bought on seven or eight occasions.
She filed a police report in August 2017 saying that Zhang had sent her a picture of a letter with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's letter head, stating that she had been charged and convicted for remaining unlawfully in Singapore.
The court heard that Zhang had previously been convicted of related offences. In 2005, he was found guilty of driving without a licence and fined and banned from driving.
In 2010, he was convicted of various offences including cheating, driving without consideration and without a licence.
He will return to court for mitigation and sentencing on Sep 16.