Ex-YOG cyclist gets jail, cane for drug offences

Alvin Phoon, who raced in national colours in the 2010 YOG, was sentenced to five years' jail and five strokes of the cane. He was a national serviceman in the police force at the time of the offences last year.
Alvin Phoon, who raced in national colours in the 2010 YOG, was sentenced to five years' jail and five strokes of the cane. He was a national serviceman in the police force at the time of the offences last year.ST FILE PHOTO

Former Youth Olympic Games (YOG) cyclist Alvin Phoon Hui Zhi was yesterday found guilty of drug trafficking and consumption, and sentenced to five years' jail and five strokes of the cane.

The 22-year-old, a full-time national serviceman in the police force at the time of the offences, was arrested at the Tanglin Police Division Headquarters in June last year.

According to the statement of facts presented to the court, Phoon had acted as a middleman, procuring cannabis from a trafficker called "Roy" and then selling it for a profit to his friends.

He had been doing so for six months before his arrest, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Claire Poh in the statement.

Phoon's crimes came to light when police nabbed his friend Andre Wong Chu Xiang, 21, in June last year. They found in Wong's home a packet of cannabis - containing no less than 5.23g of the drug - hidden in a box behind the sofa.

When questioned, Wong identified Phoon as the source of the drugs. Phoon was arrested the same day.

During investigations, officers found that the former national youth cyclist had sold Wong "weed" on three occasions, charging him $250 each time and making a profit of $50 on each transaction.

On one occasion on June 29, Wong had contacted Phoon for a fix.

Money was not discussed then because "both of them understood" how much the drugs would cost, Phoon admitted to investigators.

Court documents also showed that Phoon's urine contained traces of methylone, a Class A controlled drug.

The court yesterday found Phoon guilty of one count each of drug trafficking and consumption, with an additional charge of trafficking taken into consideration.

He could have been sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison and given 15 strokes of the cane.

But even as Phoon joins the ranks of young people felled by the drug scourge, cyclists remember him as a "hard-working rider who loved the sport".

In the 2010 Singapore YOG, Phoon raced in national colours in a road race and BMX events.

His former training partner, Mr Sallehin Muhammad Salleh, said that Phoon had the makings of a champion BMX rider.

"He had the fire, he could have been the best in his class," said the 27-year-old civil servant.

But he added that Phoon lost interest in the sport about two years ago. "If he had an avenue like biking to let out stress, maybe he would not have gone down this path."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2015, with the headline 'Ex-YOG cyclist gets jail, cane for drug offences'. Print Edition | Subscribe