National service defaulter gets 10 weeks' jail

PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A man who failed to report for national service enlistment and remained outside Singapore for 3½ years without a valid exit permit was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail on Tuesday (Oct 10).

Joseph Daluping Kum, 23, pleaded guilty to the two offences under the Enlistment Act. He failed to comply with a notice requiring him to report for enlistment for NS from March 9, 2012, to Aug 31, 2015; and failed to fulfil his liability by staying away for three years, six months and 22 days without having an exit permit from Feb 9, 2012.

Philippines-born Kum, a citizen by registration, left Singapore for the Philippines when he was nine years old. He lived and studied in the Philippines. He returned to Singapore when he was 13 and when he was 16½ years old.

When he returned to Singapore in 2011, he visited the Central Manpower Base (CMPB) for his NS matters. He was informed that he had committed offences by remaining overseas without a valid exit permit. He registered for NS on Sept 8 that year.

He later received a notice stating that he had committed an offence under the Enlistment Act and was offered a composition fine of $1,000. His appeals for a waiver were unsuccessful.

On Dec 7 that year, an enlistment notice was sent to his home address on March 8, 2012. He had left for the Philippines a month earlier.

Subsequently, another enlistment notice was sent to him. Kum's father was informed over the phone about the contents of the notice. He said Kum would not return to serve NS as his appeal for waiver of the $1,000 composition fine was rejected by the CMPB.

A police gazette cum blacklist was raised against Kum in March 2012.

On Sept 1, 2015, he returned to Singapore and was arrested when he went to Ang Mo Kio North Neighbourhood Police Post to lodge a lost property report.

He reported to CMPB the next day. He was enlisted into full-time NS on Nov 11 the same year. He is due to complete his NS next month.

His lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said in mitigation that his client was remorseful and had undergone a "traumatic childhood".

Kum, he said, moved to Singapore shortly after he was born and his father applied for Singapore citizenship for him.

Kum, who is the middle of three boys, graduated with a degree in arts, majoring in political science, from the University of Baguio.

His parents have been living apart since he was young and they never divorced or remarried, said the lawyer.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ho Lian-Yi sought a sentence of at least 10 weeks' jail, in line with the sentencing framework laid down by a three-judge panel in the High Court in July.

Kum was offered bail of $15,000 as he wishes to start his sentence after completing his NS duties as a dog handler. His 10-week sentence will take effect from Nov 13.

The maximum penalty for each offence is a $10,000 fine and three years' jail.