Monday, June 18, 2012

The Minister And The Surgeon

Speaking at the Ministry of Law's Arbitration Dialogue 2012 at the Maxwell Chambers, where a gathering of eminent international arbitrators and arbitration counsels met to discuss developments in Singapore’s arbitration landscape and the recent enhancements made to the Singapore International Arbitration Act (IAA), Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam attributed Singapore's success as an arbitration hub to five main factors, one of which was being swift in responding to changes by amending laws and policies.

Thanks to the amending of laws and policies, Dr Woffles Wu was charged under section 81(3) of the Road Traffic Act. Shanmugam said that at the time of the traffic offences, in 2005 and again in 2006,  section 204 of the Penal Code had not been enacted yet.
Obstructing, preventing, perverting or defeating course of justice
204A.  Whoever intentionally obstructs, prevents, perverts or defeats the course of justice shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years, or with fine, or with both.
Explanation.––A mere warning to a witness that he may be prosecuted for perjury if he gives false evidence is insufficient to constitute an offence.

However, the nip-and-tuck doctor could have been easily nabbed under section 182 of the Penal Code, a provision used in cases of false information declared to the police in traffic related violations.
False information, with intent to cause a public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person
182. Whoever gives to any public servant any information which he knows or believes to be false, intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, such public servant to use the lawful power of such public servant to the injury or annoyance of any person, or to do or omit anything which such public servant ought not to do or omit if the true state of facts respecting which such information is given were known by him, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to $5,000, or with both.

Still, 81(3) of the Road Traffic Act does not exactly get him out of the woods:
Duty to give information
81(3) Any person who wilfully furnishes any false or misleading information under subsection (1) or (2) shall be guilty of an offence.

According to the Law Minister, who was once a Senior Partner and head of Litigation & Dispute Resolution at Allen & Gledhill LLP, the misleading statements in question were made by Mr Kuan, which was why the charge for Woffles could only be that of abetment. That was the report on Sunday Times, 17 June 2012.

A few days back on Friday, 15 June, the words from the horse's mouth seem to say something else.

So who should we believe, the rich minister or the rich plastic surgeon? And please, don't quote PM Lee Hsien Loong again:
"Do you believe everything you read in the Straits Times?" (Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum at NUS, April 2007)


  1. Lee Chin How6/18/2012 3:14 AM

    The elite know how to care for each other. Pity they dont extend it to others.

    1. Membership has its privileges.

  2. These elite scumsuckers don't even bother to be half-convincing anymore when telling lies. They don't even care if you had caught them red-handed.

    Why? Because in their eyes, they're gods and the rest of us are mere insects and cattle. There's a set of rules for them, and another set for the rest of us.

    Oh Singaporeans, for how long will you put up with such disrespect? How much do you want them to spit in your face before you say 'Enough is enough!'?

  3. vote the pap out, wholesale

  4. We have a Kangaroo court and lemon laws which our Singapore Poodles Force are ever reluctant to enforce. What else do you expect?

  5. There was this explanation that a fine was normal and suffice in those days before the amendment. Are they saying that they have never imposed a custodial sentence before the amendment sets in ? So why do we need the amendment with harsher penalties then ?

    Remember the no-nonsense sentencing during the era of ex-CJ Yong Pung ? So if the death penalty was to be abolished one fine day, can they then say the death penalty was normal in those days before the amendment so the death penalty shall be restored as in those days ?

    Come on, who are they trying to kid ?

  6. Another Fark You?6/18/2012 9:00 AM

    They can't charge him for Section 204 before law was enacted.

    They could charge him for Section 182, as many who had not committed injury or major accidents, but false information had. TOC has outlined several such cases.

    Instead, they charge him for Section 813 and he got away with light slap.
    What a mockery of our system.

    AGC, answer the question. Who is the registered owner of the vehicle?!
    Stop patronizing the people's intelligence.

  7. These scums in white are just perverting laws and justice for their own and their friends' benefits.

  8. Some are above the law while some is the law and the rest are under the law.

    That sums up the whole constitution here.

    1. "Count on me Singapore, Count on me ....." It means less and less relevant now adays.

  9. Wow, Tattler, great spot.
    Now I wonder if Mr Shan going to say "..that is inaccurate facts"?
    Next time I get into similar situation, I get my 80 yrs old father (man) to 'voluntarily' give false information, and I will only be slapped $1000, ok.
    Then I take him to casino, and give him another $1000 line of credit to play his lottery so I don't leave any evidence trail.
    Thanks for the heads up Sir!

    1. If you give gold jewelry or give that person hard cash of several thousands dollars, is there a trace of money has passed hands?

    2. Perhaps woffles promised the old man he will pick the tab for his funeral expenses and even throw in a marble tombstone

  10. The more one reads about the Case,

    the more one gets confused.

    Oh, maybe few are able to understand

    our Sin Laws. Oni those who can argue
    both ways and win in anyway can
    understand the Laws of Sin.


  11. Let me get this straight : -

    Kuan gave false information, but he was NOT charged.

    Wu did not give false information, but he WAS charged for abetment.

    There is an absence of evidence that he provided the false information

    There is an absence of evidence that payment was made.

    There is an absence of evidence that the said driver was Wu.

    There is an absence of evidence of section 204.

    There is an absence of evidence of a repeat offense (nearly).

    Wow. For a surgeon who knows a lot about hiding evidence, he clearly knows a thing or two about erasing scars.

    Clearly, this perfectionist surgeon also think we have a plastic law and justice here where he can operate at his own will, rather skillfully I have to say.

  12. Thank you, mr sham, for confirming that prosecutorial decisions is one way the PAP government can count on to protect the elites.

    Btw, good job there too, for writing a blisteringly supportive testimonial fot the shin Ming editor who killed a local Mat and seriously wounded another. Because of your persuasive POWERS, a peasant family had lost a grandparent and a father at a cheap price of $2,000 fine and a few hours of quiet sitting at the holding cell in the sub court.

    You are PAP's best law minister ever for seeing to a "fair" dispensation of law in this death penalty Disneyland.

    1. Why is the law minister trying so hard to defend Woffles? Is he Woffles counsel? At least it appears so. The minister doth protest too much, methinks. The more he opens his mouth, the more unconvincing he sounds.

      In the case of Ravinthran vs the AG, during the appeal, Justice Rajah commented: "Is it proper prosecutorial discretion to salami slice the physical evidence?" Ravinthran was charged under the Mandatory Death Penalty with the full amount of drugs, but Arunjunan was charged below the threshold, for the same offence.

      And the Public Prosecutor Miss Mavis Chionh stated that it was not a “fiction” to charge Mr Arujunan with a lesser amount than Mr Ravinthran, as the amount in Mr Arujunan’s case was a subset of the [full] amount. Exactly what Justice Rajah adduced to, in different words! Through the mouths of babes, eh?

      So the Public Prosecutor can act God to decide who should be charged with the Mandatory Death Penalty? Their verbal gymnastics can make black look white. Or at least they try to.

  13. WW :"I believe that many people simply did not know that this is an offense"

    Gee. Apparently the first time fine of $1000 still didn't get into his skull that it is an offense, given Kuan was let off with stern warning.

    So let's see that AGC/Court make sure that the 2nd time will be a heavier charge plus a sentence so he knows it is not only an offense to find someone to take the rap for you, but coward to stand behind an old man for your own wrongdoing. What does this father of two wish to teach his children here exactly?

    We are quite familiar with prata politics, but this new waffle politics has truly blown our mind.

  14. Try to see it from their point of view.
    After receiving the initial letter from LTA in 2005 to provide particulars of the driver, Wu wrote in Kuan's name. The summons was sent to Kuan, and Kuan paid the fine. Repeat for second speeding offence in 2006. Check received, case closed.
    Then sometime in Jan 2012, whistle blower goes to the Traffic Police. Her account documented here.
    They could go after Wu, who provided the (false) driver particulars, or they go after Kuan, who paid for the fine and officially "settled" the case. Since Kuan is nailed as the law breaker, Wu becomes accessory. Hey, it's perfectly legal (in their jaundiced eyes).

    1. I can see where this is leading to.
      The investigation into the speeding offence confirms Wu was the driver. But Wu is already fined in the related case. A person cannot be charged twice for the same offence. Wu goes free.

    2. Still not answering the questions.

      Kuan paid the fine for speeding in 2005 & 2006. Cases closed.
      Later, cases exposed. Wu paid the $1000 fine for abetment in 2005 & 2006.
      So the real speedster(s) behind the car in 2005 & 2006 is still at large. Who is he/she? The charges against Kuan has to be repealed because he was not the real culprit.
      So there was no two charges for the same offence.
      In fact, there was NO charges for the TWO speeddriving Offences.

      Supposed the real speedster(s) is not Wu himself, and found to be someone else. Will that person be charged for abetting Kuan & Wu to take the fall too? If the speedster is Wu himself, then he has done it not once, but twice!

      Now if Howard Shaw can be charged for sex with underaged girl, why would Woffles Wu be go scot-free for lying, perverting justice and speeding?

    3. Yeah..howard shaw also claimed he didn't know the girl was underaged.
      Now waffles wu wants to claim that 'many people didn't know this is an offence".
      Just wondering who is this 'many people' he's referring to?
      Is he going to feign ignorance now?

    4. Next, the CNB director Ng Boon Gay will also plea "'many people didn't know this is an offence" for being serviced orally by an IT vendor.

  15. Shamugam: Woffle did not mislead himself
    Woffle: I did, it was silly.

    Kangaroo deserved its name for its boxing or was it botoxing?

    1. Why would a minister defend a law breaker when he did admit that he did albeit not directly. What is the motivation?

    2. And what is the motivation for kuan to take the rap?

  16. Is it false to say?;
    I thot kangaroos were native to Australia only?

    A new species just been sighted in Singapore?

    1. a commenter in another blog has suggested pappyroo. dunno if that person's creativity was inspired by LSD. wat do you think?

  17. who-will-clean-up-my-mess?6/18/2012 3:01 PM

    Like Howard Shaw, Mr Waffle was once Tatler most eligible bachelor too.

    I wonder if there was a damsel trying to save the knight here again...?

  18. Why did you want to dig into this case? You know some ministers' or judges' wives are booking his services to do plastic surgeries for them. If they offend the surgeon, he 'may' accidentally commit mistakes in these 'important' surgeries.

    Why complain complain? You should hate yourself for not being a plastic surgeon! He is too important to be offended or thrown into prison.

    1. the authorities can arrange for WW to continue his practice on fellow inmates, even to refine some skills without any liabilities...

  19. The jurors said Gupta was manipulated by Rajaratnam, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence. Sesso called Rajaratnam “a snake in the grass.”
    said Ronnie Sesso, 53, a youth advocate who works for New York City’s Administration of Children’s Services, one of 12 jurors in the trial of Rajat Gupta, convicted for securities fraud in New York June 15 2012

    Be careful of snakes

  20. Dunno about the legal niceties but it seems kinda

    odd that someone is charged and convicted for

    abetting in the commission an offence for which no

    one has been charged/convicted. Can someone abet an

    offence which has not been committed?

  21. Tattler, thanks for the well-written article. I have no confidence in our justice system since long time ago. I find the offences and punishment do not match in many cases, also, the rich, famous and well connected always have advantage over the ordinary folks. The powerful one (especially MIW) never loses in legal battle in our Singapore's Kangaroo Court, sigh!

  22. Is he the minister that 'amiably' settled the squabble btw a mainland chinese and indian family over cooking curry?

    His 'solution' for that indian notifying his chinese neighbour prior to cooking of curry - an everyday dish - is as laughable as the explanation he provided for Wu's case i.e. a fine instead of a jail term. Apparently it seems there is an element of guess-work in our legal system when he asked us not to guess the final outcome of further investigation. Our law is not grey, is it?

  23. Two people charged for drug possession, is it possible for their lawyers or themselves to claim that they each possessed only 50% equally?

  24. This is not just a minor case of a speeding offence, but of whether the law is fair and transparent. That's why it has gone viral, stoking the public perception of the uneven hand of justice in our system.

    And when the Law Minister and the AGC put their foot and mouth in, with their convoluted arguments, it further raised concerns about preferential treatment. There must not be discrimination and partisanship in the application and dispensation of justice. Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.

  25. Mr SHAME....u r not be fit to b not even a lawyer..let alone MP...U hv set a VERY BAD example of how singaporeans are treated ...tos $$HIGH$$ n $$RICH$$...n how the general public r bing treated...for same offence....SHAME ON U....U really bring SHAME to the younger generation....2 SETS OF LAWS IN SINGAPORE...or is there more...Swept Under the Carpet??????