Land surveyor fined $3,000 for verbally abusing ICA officer

SINGAPORE - A land surveyor was fined $3,000 on Wednesday for using abusive and insulting language at an immigration and checkpoints officer.

Malaysian Lee Eng Soon, 40, admitted shouting a vulgar word and "idiot" at Corporal Farmi Al Faqeh, 24, at the arrival car booth of Woodlands checkpoint on May 14 this year.

Investigation showed that Lee, who is a Singapore permanent resident, was driving in from Malaysia with his family at about 7.26am that day to send his two children to school when his daughter's passport could not be scanned due to a system error.

As the children were late for school, Lee's wife told Cpl Farmi to speed up.

Cpl Farmi said he was trying his best, but he still could not scan the daughter's passport after several attempts.

Lee became increasingly impatient and shouted at the victim to hurry up, accusing him of purposely wasting his time.

When the victim replied that the delay was due to a system error, Lee shouted the four-letter word and "idiot".

Asked why he used the vulgarity, Lee refused to respond and proceeded to utter the word "pui" at the victim several times.

Two officers who overheard Lee scolding the victim intervened.

Lee was not arrested but was directed to report to Jurong Police headquarters later that day.

Lee's lawyer M. Kalidass said it was a one-off loss of self-control by his client, and urged the court to take into account Lee's good character.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jingxi said Lee's plea of guilt had to be balanced against his completely unwarranted behaviour as well as public interest in protecting public servants from verbal abuse as well as maintaining order at border checkpoints.

Lee could have been fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to one year.