Ah Boys To Men star Noah Yap jailed for taking cannabis

Noah Yap found fame playing IP Man in the first two instalments of Ah Boys To Men, the popular army movie series by Jack Neo. He enlisted in May 2014.
Noah Yap found fame playing IP Man in the first two instalments of Ah Boys To Men, the popular army movie series by Jack Neo. He enlisted in May 2014.PHOTO: FLY ENTERTAINMENT

Nine months in detention barracks for NSF who was with SAF Music and Drama Company at the time of offences

Ah Boys To Men star and home-grown YouTube personality Noah Yap has been jailed for nine months in the Singapore Armed Forces detention barracks for the consumption of cannabis.

The 22-year-old full-time national serviceman (NSF), holding the rank of lance corporal, was sentenced on Wednesday to the army's equivalent of prison.

He was part of the SAF Music and Drama Company at the time of the offences, following his enlistment in May 2014.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the Defence Ministry confirmed that Yap was found guilty under Section 8(b)(ii) of the Misuse of Drugs Act. It said: "The Singapore Armed Forces adopts a zero-tolerance approach towards drug abuse. Servicemen found abusing drugs will be disciplined and rehabilitated."

Yap rose to fame as IP Man in home-grown director Jack Neo's first two instalments of his popular army movie series. The trio of films earned more than $20 million at the box office, and even spawned a musical in 2014 in which Noah reprised his original role.

After The Straits Times broke the news on Yap's sentence, Jack Neo, who launched Yap's acting career, was quoted by The New Paper as saying he was "very shocked and sad".

"How did this even happen?

"This is especially upsetting because when Jackie Chan's son, Jaycee, was caught for drugs (in 2014), I took the opportunity to remind all the Boys that they should never, ever touch or dabble in drugs."

After the success of Neo's first two army movies in 2012 and 2013, Yap quit theatre studies at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts to film another Jack Neo movie, The Lion Men, which is about three competing lion dance groups.

Yap is represented by artist management company FLY Entertainment. Its CEO and founder Irene Ang, told The Straits Times that the firm takes a strong stand against drug abuse but will stand by Yap.

"I believe Noah has great potential and we look forward to working with him after he has served his term. To err is human - who doesn't make mistakes?... I will continue to mentor him and I hope his fans and friends will continue to give him strength as well," said the actress.

Yap was sentenced at the SAF Court Martial Centre, which is open to the public. If found guilty, first-time offenders can be jailed for between nine and 15 months for drug consumption. Repeat offenders can be jailed and caned.

Cannabis use among young people here is increasingly becoming a matter for concern. Statistics released last month by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) showed that nearly 70 per cent of new drug abusers arrested last year were under the age of 30, and that cannabis was the second-most abused drug among new abusers, after methamphetamine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2016, with the headline 'Ah Boys To Men star jailed for taking cannabis'. Print Edition | Subscribe