Jail for man who paid $500 for an impostor to take his basic theory test

Goh Ah Hock pleaded guilty to a charge of engaging in a conspiracy to cheat by personation. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A man wanted to convert his Malaysian driving licence to a Singaporean one but was not confident he could pass the basic theory test.

So he engaged an agent to get someone to impersonate him and do the test on his behalf. But the impostor was caught after the tester became suspicious.

Goh Ah Hock, 52, was sentenced to two months' jail on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to a charge of engaging in a conspiracy to cheat by personation.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yeo Zhen Xiong told the court that the Malaysian had heard that a law would purportedly be introduced in July 2022 banning the usage of foreign vehicles in Singapore.

From July 1, Singapore reverted to its pre-pandemic policy that work pass holders living in Singapore must ensure their foreign-registered vehicles are kept or used outside Singapore for at least six hours every day.

Goh, who was using a Malaysian-registered motorcycle in Singapore for his daily transportation and work, decided to buy a motorcycle in Singapore, as he was going to be working here long-term.

But he needed to pass the basic theory test to convert his Malaysian licence to a Singaporean version so he can ride the motorbike here. As he was worried about failing the test, he agreed to pay an agent $500 to help him.

On June 28, Goh met the agent outside the Singapore Safety Driving Centre in 2 Woodlands Industrial Park E4, and was told to hand over his work permit as another man would take the test on his behalf. He then waited at a nearby coffee shop for his new licence.

Meanwhile, Chinese national Zhang Zhongliang, 28, who had responded to an advertisement on WeChat to take the basic theory test for others in exchange for $200, met the agent outside the driving centre.

The agent handed Goh's work permit to Zhang, who was supposed to meet the agent after the test to receive his payment.

When a Traffic Police tester called out Goh's name at the centre, Zhang went up and presented Goh's work permit. The tester noticed Zhang looked different from the photograph on the permit after instructing him to remove his mask.

When he asked Zhang for Goh's FIN number, he could not provide it. The suspicious tester then asked Zhang to provide other documents to confirm his identity, but Zhang left and returned with Goh.

Another tester called the police and the two men were later arrested.

Zhang was sentenced to two months' jail on July 21.

DPP Yeo, who had asked for Goh to be sentenced to jail for two months, said in his written sentencing submissions: "Goh's lack of confidence in passing the basic theory test is a reflection of the hazard that he would have posed to other road users and would be no different from a driver driving under disqualification.

"In the circumstances, a deterrent sentence is warranted."

Goh could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, or both.

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