Company director pleads guilty to offering $1,000 bribe to SCDF fire-fighter

Goh Choon Hee, 50, is seen leaving the Subordinate Court on Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014. Goh admitted to offering an SCDF fire-fighter a $1,000 bribe not to report him for a traffic offence. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Goh Choon Hee, 50, is seen leaving the Subordinate Court on Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014. Goh admitted to offering an SCDF fire-fighter a $1,000 bribe not to report him for a traffic offence. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Goh Choon Hee, 50, was drink-driving when his Honda Civic car slammed into a taxi at the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Hougang Avenue 2 on June 20 last year.

Sergeant Samuel Anandaraj Anthonyraj of the Singapore Civil Defence Force happened to be at the scene of the accident, which occurred at 10pm, and came to render assistance. Realising that police would be arriving soon, Goh tried to bribe the fire-fighter to let him settle the matter with the cabby privately. He was turned down and on Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to offering $1,000 to induce Sgt Samuel, 28, not to report him for a traffic offence.

Goh, the sole proprietor of Home Maintenance Service - a firm in the business of apartment rental - will be sentenced on Wednesday. The company director is out on bail of $10,000.

Asking for a jail term of at least three months, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue said that Goh had even "lobbied" for cabby Loy Chee Kah, 60, to participate in the cover-up of the accident.

A district court heard that Sgt Samuel, who was on duty and riding a motorcycle back to the fire station when he saw the accident, contacted the SCDF operations room to request for police backup. As he was attending to the taxi driver, he saw that Goh was about to drive away. Sgt Samuel signalled for him to stop and Goh wound down the window and pleaded with the fire-fighter to let him leave immediately.

Sgt Samuel instead got Goh to step out of the car on suspicion of drink driving. Goh walked around unsteadily while complaining that he could not afford to have his driving licence revoked because he needed to drive around to collect rentals.

Goh then retrieved his wallet from the car and showed Sgt Samuel a $1,000 note. He also made hand signals to indicate that the fire-fighter should let him leave immediately. When this request was declined, Goh tried to offer Mr Loy $1,000 for the damage to his taxi. He also told the cabby that he intended to offer $2,000 to Sgt Samuel to allow Goh and the taxi driver to settle the matter privately.

Police then arrived and a breathalyser test showed Goh had 73 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, more than double the legal limit. Goh also tried to get rid of the $1,000 note by dropping it in the patrol car. However, this was recovered by police officers .

Goh, who is represented by Mr A. Rajandran, could be fined up to $100,000 and jailed for up to five years.

He had been fined $5,000 and disqualified from driving for five years for drink-driving, and fined $800 for inconsiderate driving on Dec 12 last year.

khush@sph.com.sg