Former SAF medic jailed 12 weeks for corruption at detention barracks

SINGAPORE - A former Singapore Armed Forces medic was jailed for 12 weeks on Tuesday after he accepted money from detainees in an army detention barrack to let them use his mobile phone.

Chai Yit Hoong, 25, had been posted at the barrack, where detainees are banned from using mobile phones. He was also not allowed to extend favours to them.

He pleaded guilty to six charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and seven others were taken into consideration.

The offences took place between February and April 2012.

One of the detainees, Sarvenan Sundramutthy, wanted to contact his family and asked Chai if he could borrow his mobile phone.

He did not agree initially, as he was afraid of being caught, but relented when Sarvenan offered him $100. Sarvenan then told Chai to contact his girlfriend, who would transfer the money to him.

Chai lent his phone to Sarvenan on a few more occasions. In March 2012, he met Sarvenan's girlfriend at an MRT station to collect a mobile phone to pass to him.

Chai would pass the phone to Sarvenan during his rounds at night, then collect it from him early next morning.

He also lent his phone to seven other detainees, typically in exchange for $50 each time. He also smuggled in a mobile phone and snacks.

Chai was not represented in court. He told the court that he regretted his actions and has learnt his lesson.

He asked for a chance to prove himself as a lawful citizen and said this would be his first and last offence.

District Judge Victor Yeo ordered him to pay a penalty of $750, the amount he had pocketed.

For corruption, he could have been jailed up to five years and fined up to $100,000.