NS defaulter drops appeal against 16 weeks' jail term

Jonathan Tan Huai En was allowed to start serving his jail term on Oct 6, after being convicted in February of defaulting on his NS obligations for over a decade.
Jonathan Tan Huai En was allowed to start serving his jail term on Oct 6, after being convicted in February of defaulting on his NS obligations for over a decade.

A 28-year-old man, who was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail in February for defaulting on his national service (NS) obligations for more than a decade, withdrew his appeal against his sentence yesterday.

Jonathan Tan Huai En, the older son of Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng, was allowed to start serving his jail term on Oct 6.

A separate case involving his younger brother, Isaac Tan Yang En, 25, also for dodging NS, has been scheduled to be mentioned on the same day in the State Courts.

Yesterday, Mr Tan Chee Meng declined to comment when approached outside the courtroom.

Jonathan Tan had pleaded guilty on Jan 13 to two counts of remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit between Dec 22, 2004 and May 4, 2015. He returned to Singapore on May 5, 2015, and enlisted for NS on Jan 8 last year.

Isaac Tan allegedly remained outside Singapore without a valid exit permit between Aug 15, 2006 and Aug 5, 2015. He is also accused of failing to comply with the Further Reporting Order from July 31, 2009 to Aug 5, 2015.

The two brothers, their sister and their mother migrated to Canada on Dec 1, 2000, with no intention of returning to Singapore. Their father remained here because of a lack of employment opportunities overseas, according to court papers.

In July, the High Court issued fresh sentencing benchmarks for NS dodgers, setting out four sentencing bands based on the length of default. The benchmarks "amplified" punishments for those who default for longer periods as it affects their fitness for service and the time they can serve as reservists.

In particular, for those who evade NS for seven to 10 years, the starting point is five to eight months' jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2017, with the headline 'NS defaulter drops appeal against 16 weeks' jail term'. Print Edition | Subscribe