2 Singaporeans fined $530 for bypassing Johor customs while heading to Singapore

Some of the accused queueing to enter the special Sessions Court at the Pekan Nenas detention centre for illegals in Pontian, Johor. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PONTIAN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Two Singaporeans charged with bypassing the Johor Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex (CIQ) while heading to Singapore have each been slapped with a RM2,000 (S$530) fine in default of five months' jail.

They were among 52 accused who were charged at the special court in the Pekan Nenas detention centre for illegals yesterday with committing the offence near the Johor Baru-Singapore railway tracks on June 26, June 29 and July 3.

They pleaded guilty for bypassing Customs check without valid reason when exiting Malaysia under Section 5(1) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.

The offence, punishable under Section 5(2) of the same Act, carries a fine of not more than RM10,000, jail term of up to five years, or both.

A Malaysian youth charged with the offence incurred the ire of a judge when he kept interrupting her judgment.

Annoyed, Sessions Court judge Salawati Djambri slammed her palm on the bench and retorted: "When I speak, you listen!

"I'm telling you, the court's interpretation of 14 days might be different from yours. When I am trying to explain, you listen," she said.

Earlier, Judge Salawati ordered Tengku Mohd Azim Hazmi, 21, to pay a fine of RM1,500 (S$400) for pleading guilty to the offence.

Tengku Mohd Azim, who works as a cleaner in Singapore, asked for a lighter sentence but the judge told him to appoint a lawyer and appeal within 14 days if he was not satisfied with the decision.

But before she could finish explaining, Tengku Mohd Azim cut her off, prompting her to lash out at him.

Judge Salawati also warned him and the others not to repeat the offence or face a heavier penalty.

Tengku Mohd Azim was one of the 50 Malaysians aged between 20 and 60 who were ordered to pay a fine of RM1,500 each, in default of three months' jail.

Following a special report by The Star about Malaysians bypassing the CIQ in Bangunan Sultan Iskandar to work in Singapore, the Immigration Department carried out a series of operations under Ops Ikrar to nab the offenders.

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