Shangri-La shooting: Passenger gets jail, cane for rash act, drug offences

The car involved in the shooting incident near the Shangri-La Hotel on May 31. Back-seat passenger Syahid, who had drugs in his possession, had shouted at the driver to go after the car stopped at a police roadblock.
The car involved in the shooting incident near the Shangri-La Hotel on May 31. Back-seat passenger Syahid, who had drugs in his possession, had shouted at the driver to go after the car stopped at a police roadblock.ST FILE PHOTO

A man who was a passenger in a car involved in a shooting incident near the Shangri-La Hotel was yesterday sentenced to seven years in jail and given three strokes of the cane.

Muhammad Syahid Mohamed Yasin, 27, had admitted to abetment to commit a rash act: He had shouted at driver Mohamad Taufik Zahar to "Jalan! Jalan!" (Go! Go!) after the car stopped at a police roadblock in Ardmore Park at about 4.15am on May 31.

Court papers say that Taufik, 34, suddenly accelerated towards Sergeant Mohamad Zahid Suhami, 29, and Senior Staff Sergeant See Toa Chew Yin, 30. He crashed the car into a concrete barrier, endangering the safety of the two police officers.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang said two other police officers had approached Taufik's car when it stopped that morning.

Syahid, a kitchen helper, also admitted to two counts of enhanced possession of drugs and one of taking "Ice", or methamphetamine.

Syahid, who was in the back seat of the red Subaru Impreza, was observed to be nervous and defensive.

He was worried about being checked as he had drugs in his possession - a pouch containing 17 tablets of nimetazepam and two packets of at least 8.41g of methamphetamine.

Moreover, he had consumed Ice the night before in his home.

At the road block, Syahid shouted in Malay to Taufik to go, leading him to suddenly rev the engine and accelerate towards Sgt Zahid and Senior Staff Sgt See Toa, who were near the concrete barrier.

On hearing the revving of the engine, Senior Staff Sgt See Toa backed away from the concrete barrier while Sgt Zahid, who was seated in the driver's seat in a police car, braced himself for impact. The car crashed into the concrete barrier beside the police car, pushed the barrier aside and drove through.

An earlier report said police opened fire at the vehicle, and the car came to a stop on a grass patch barely 250m from the entrance of the hotel. Taufik was pronounced dead at the scene.

The area around the hotel had been placed under tight security as it was hosting the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major security summit attended by defence ministers and security chiefs.

Syahid committed the present offences after his recent release from drug supervision. He was last jailed for 12 months in 2013 for drug consumption and possession.

He was cleared of trafficking in heroin with Mohamed Ismail, 32, the front-seat passenger, after the charge was withdrawn.

Mohamed was sentenced to eight years in jail and given three strokes of the cane for drug offences.

Syahid's lawyer, Ms Nadia Moynihan, said her client's infant daughter died in July this year, followed by his father. Syahid had reported having flashbacks of his friend being shot dead, she said.

Four other drug-related charges were taken into consideration.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2015, with the headline 'Shangri-La shooting: Passenger gets jail, cane for rash act, drug offences'. Print Edition | Subscribe