Man who climbed onto tracks gets preventive detention

An MRT train travelling on the tracks along a station.
An MRT train travelling on the tracks along a station. PHOTO: ST FILE

While on the run from the police for a series of offences in February, Roslan Amat decided to seek shelter by climbing onto the MRT tracks between Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Gombak stations.

As he walked towards an oncoming train, he was spotted by the driver who immediately reduced his speed from 40kmh to 20kmh. Not only did Roslan's intrusion disrupt train services, but he also endangered the safety of commuters.

Yesterday, the 47-year-old unemployed man was sentenced to seven years' preventive detention and three strokes of the cane.

This was after he admitted to wilfully endangering safety, breaking into an office at Hougang Avenue 4 and stealing items including jewellery totalling $3,040 on Feb 19, and taking methamphetamine.

Investigations showed that between 5pm and 6pm on Feb 27, he entered the railway premises near Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1 by climbing over the barbed wire fence.

As the train approached, the 33-year-old captain Chanthiran Sundaram stopped and shouted at Roslan, who was then on the adjacent railway track. Roslan fled in the opposite direction towards Bukit Gombak station.

Pointing out that Roslan's actions endangered the safety of others, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kong Kuek Foo said: "This is because the train may have to apply emergency brakes to avoid a collision with the accused, which could throw passengers off balance and result in falls and injuries."

Roslan, who had previously been convicted of property-related offences such as housebreaking and theft in dwelling, did not want to go home as the police were looking for him for snatching a woman's mobile phone on Feb 8. He pawned stolen jewellery at various Maxi-Cash pawnshops and spent the money on hotel stays, among other things, until his arrest on March 1.

The maximum punishment for wilfully endangering the safety of persons travelling on the railway is a $10,000 fine and five years' jail under the Rapid Transit Systems Act.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2015, with the headline 'Man who climbed onto tracks gets preventive detention'. Print Edition | Subscribe