Top lawyer's son admits to defaulting on NS obligations

Isaac Tan Yang En (left) with his father, Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng, and brother Jonathan Tan Huai En yesterday. Isaac Tan pleaded guilty to one count of remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit. His brother surrendered himself to t
Isaac Tan Yang En (left) with his father, Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng, and brother Jonathan Tan Huai En yesterday. Isaac Tan pleaded guilty to one count of remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit. His brother surrendered himself to the State Courts to begin serving his jail term. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

He had six-year default period; older brother had earlier been sentenced for similar offence

The younger son of a prominent lawyer admitted in court yesterday that he had defaulted on his national service obligations.

The court heard that Isaac Tan Yang En, 25, whose father is Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng, had lived overseas without a valid exit permit between Aug 15, 2006 and Aug 5, 2015. His six-year period of default started from March 16, 2009 - when he turned 161/2 years old and was required to register for NS. He will be sentenced on Oct 11.

His older brother, Jonathan Tan Huai En, now 28, was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail in February after pleading guilty to a similar offence.

Isaac Tan, who is now serving his NS and will complete it later this month, pleaded guilty to one count of remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit.

A second charge for a similar offence and one count of failing to comply with a Further Reporting Order to report for NS registration, pre-enlistment documentation and medical screening will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Zhongshan told the court that Tan is a Singapore citizen by birth.

On Dec 1, 2000, he migrated to Canada with his mother, older sister and brother. Their father remained in Singapore because of the lack of employment opportunities overseas.

Tan received his Canadian citizenship in early 2005. The court heard that on Sept 8, 2009, his father's lawyers wrote to the Central Manpower Base (CMPB), requesting that Tan's NS be deferred until he turned 21, when he intended to renounce his Singapore citizenship.

The CMPB replied later that month, rejecting the request.

DPP Tan said: "CMPB also stated... that the accused had been remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit, and the accused should return to Singapore to resolve his NS offences as soon as possible in order not to prolong his default period."

Tan returned to Singapore on Aug 6, 2015 and enlisted in full-time NS about two months later.

DPP Tan said Tan had been aware of his NS obligations for years and urged District Judge Marvin Bay to sentence him to at least three months' jail.

In mitigation, Tan's lawyer, Ms Josephine Choo, said her client had come back to Singapore for the sole purpose of fulfilling his NS obligations.

Pleading for a five-week jail term, she also said he suffers from atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema, and needs regular follow-up treatments.

Tan's brother, who remained abroad without a valid exit permit between Dec 22, 2004 and May 4, 2015, surrendered himself to the State Courts yesterday to begin serving his sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2017, with the headline 'Top lawyer's son admits to defaulting on NS obligations'. Print Edition | Subscribe