Man jailed for offering $30 'coffee money' to traffic police not to issue him summons

Malaysian construction worker Sang Jia Weng offered "coffee money'' of $30 to SSgt Zulkifli not to issue him the summons.
Malaysian construction worker Sang Jia Weng offered "coffee money'' of $30 to SSgt Zulkifli not to issue him the summons.ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Despite being rejected by a police officer, a Malaysian construction worker persisted in offering a $30 bribe to him and stuffed the cash into the officer's trouser pocket.

Sang Jia Weng, 30, was jailed for four weeks on Thursday (May 4) for corruptly offering "coffee money'' to Staff Sergeant (Staff Sgt) Zulkifli Dzahari in exchange for not issuing him a summons for failing to secure his helmet strap while riding his motorcycle.

Sang, who lives in Johor Baru, Malaysia, would travel to Singapore two to three times a week, depending on whether the company required him for a construction project.

On Jan 11 this year, he was riding his motorcycle along Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) when Staff Sgt Zulkfli, who was on patrol duty, saw that the rider's helmet strap was not secured and signalled him to stop at the road shoulder.

Staff Sgt Zulkfli approached Sang and told him in Malay that he did not secure his helmet strap while riding and, therefore, he would be issued a summons that would require payment of $120.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Nathaniel Khng said Sang pleaded with the officer for leniency, telling him that he was earning only $80 a day and had not received any salary for several days.

He then offered "coffee money'' of $30 to Staff Sgt Zulkifli not to issue him the summons. Staff Sgt Zulkifli rejected him and said that he would still issue the summons. Despite this, Sang repeated his offer of coffee money of $30.

"This time, he also took out three Singapore $10 notes from his wallet and stuffed them inside the left pocket of Staff Sgt Zulkifli's pants," he said.

The officer handcuffed Sang and placed him under arrest.

In seeking a jail term of at least three weeks, DPP Khng said this was a case of a person who offered a bribe to a public officer in an attempt to persuade him to act against duties to his principal and the wider public that he had pledged to faithfully carry out.

"It is well established that all such offences are viewed as very serious, and will be met with a custodial sentence to deter like-minded persons from doing something similar," he said.

The present case was aggravated by the fact that Sang offered the bribe not once, but twice. Furthermore, not only did he offer the bribe, he even also forced the officer to take it when he stuffed the money into the officer's pocket, and it was to the officer's credit that he immediately placed Sang under arrest.

Sang could have been fined up to $100,000 or sentenced to jail for up to five years or both.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said in a statement that Singapore adopts a zero tolerance approach towards corruption.