Fish farm owner fined for operating a boat while drunk and crashing into police vessel

Tan Choon Teck was fined $3,000 after pleading guilty to endangering human life by navigating his boat in a rash manner. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - An intoxicated fish farm owner was operating his boat in the waters off Pulau Ubin after a drinking session when it ploughed into a stationary Police Coast Guard (PCG) patrol craft last September.

Although the officers on board were not injured, repair costs for the patrol craft came up to nearly $9,000.

Tan Choon Teck, who suffered some scratches and bruises to both knees, has since made full restitution.

The 56-year-old Singaporean was fined $3,000 on Thursday (March 19) after pleading guilty to endangering human life by navigating his boat in a rash manner.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Edwin Soh said Tan owns a fish farm north of Pulau Ubin and uses his boat to travel.

At around 5pm on Sept 23 last year, he met two friends on Pulau Ubin and the trio started downing alcoholic drinks.

The drinking session ended about an hour later and Tan took a bottle of cognac back to his boat before returning to his farm.

Court documents did not state if he continued drinking alcohol, but he was drunk when he steered the vessel towards Marina Country Club in Punggol at around 10pm that day.

He lost control of his boat along the way and it collided into the PCG patrol craft, the court heard.

Senior Staff Sergeant Hairil Ayob, who was on board the vessel, went to check on Tan after the crash and found that he reeked of alcohol.

Tan had a bottle of cognac in his boat and he later failed a breathalyser test.

Its results were not disclosed in court documents.

DPP Soh said: "The accused knew that by steering his boat while intoxicated, he would run the risk of losing control of his boat resulting in a collision, thereby endangering... himself or others at sea."

For committing the offence, Tan could have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.

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