Ex-A*Star researcher jailed, fined for pushing auxiliary cop after he was caught fishing illegally

Chua Ci Jie leaving the State Courts on Jan 17, 2022. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - When he was caught fishing illegally at Upper Seletar Reservoir in 2019, a former Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) research officer pushed an auxiliary police officer before trying to flee.

Chua Ci Jie, 29, was on Wednesday (Feb 23) sentenced to 24 days' jail and a $3,500 fine.

He had earlier been found guilty of one charge each of using criminal force to deter a public servant from his duty and refusing to give details of his identity to an auxiliary police officer. He had contested these charges during trial.

He then pleaded guilty to two charges of fishing illegally and refusing to produce his identification details.

The court heard that Chua was working as a research officer at A*Star at the time of the incident on Nov 30, 2019. He left the organisation in July 2020.

He was fishing illegally at the reservoir and was caught by Mr David Sativel, an auxiliary police officer who worked for the National Parks Board (NParks) at the time.

Mr Sativel asked Chua for his particulars, but the latter refused to provide them and declined to comply with the officer's request to follow him.

Their encounter was recorded on Mr Sativel's body-worn camera.

When two of Mr Sativel's colleagues approached them, Chua ran down a nearby slope.

Mr Sativel grabbed Chua's bag to prevent him from getting away and both men ended up tumbling down the slope.

"After getting up, (Chua) pushed the officer once before making his escape," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Esther Wong.

Mr Sativel's colleagues caught up with him and asked for his particulars. Chua initially refused but later retrieved his NRIC from his wallet and handed it over.

DPP Wong told the court that Chua's actions had obstructed Mr Sativel's duty as a public servant. She said: "After (the officer) had fallen, he could not get up to pursue Chua."

She added that it was the second time that Chua had been caught illegally fishing at the same reservoir by NParks officers.

District Judge Lim Wen Juin said: "Even though the physical contact between Chua and Mr Sativel was fleeting, it showed a wilful defiance of authority."

Those convicted of using criminal force on a public servant can be jailed for up to four years and fined.

For refusing to furnish his personal particulars, Chua could have been fined up to $10,000.

The offence of fishing illegally carries a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and a six-month jail term.

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