Career criminal jailed for faking accident

A CAREER criminal who had been to jail 19 times since he was 17 was caught breaking the law yet again, just four days after his latest release from prison.

Tan Lian Seng, 59, who is unemployed, pretended to have been hit by a car, hoping for a payout from the driver.

Instead, he was thrown in jail yet again yesterday, this time for 10 months.

Tan, who was working with accomplice Neo Choon Hock, 55, had approached a moving car at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) carpark on Oct 25 last year, and hit the rear bonnet with his hand.

Hearing a thud, the driver, Mr Gan Kah Hua, got out and saw Tan lying on the ground.

According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Chew Xin Ying, Neo appeared and apparently told the driver he had knocked Tan down, and asked for money as compensation. Neo has not been dealt with yet.

Mr Gan, 38, suggested viewing CCTV footage of the incident first.

Tan's assigned lawyer, Mr M. Lukshumayeh, said that his client had been unemployed for many years, had no fixed place to live and was estranged from his only sibling, an elder sister.

According to an Institute of Mental Health report, Tan had been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse.

His criminal record runs into more than 10 pages, with convictions for theft, robbery, causing grievous hurt, drug-related offences and possession of offensive weapons.

District Judge Christopher Goh said it seemed that Tan had gone "downhill a little", and the periods between his prison terms were getting shorter and shorter.

Tan could have been jailed for up to five years and fined for the offence. Another charge of criminal trespass at MBS was considered during his sentencing.

elena@sph.com.sg