18 months' jail for man who tried to evade authorities by faking own death

SINGAPORE - A former company director, who was given 30 months' jail in 2017 for criminal breach of trust, tried to fake his own death while out on bail.

But he was caught at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport last August and brought back to Singapore.

On Monday (Feb 17), Ng Kek Wee, 55, was sentenced to 18 months' jail after pleading guilty to one count each of abetting to provide false information to a public servant; knowingly failing to turn up in court without reasonable excuse; and abetting the fabrication of false evidence in a judicial proceeding.

He will serve his latest sentence after completing his jail term for criminal breach of trust.

The court heard that Ng used to be a director of a firm called Singalab, which provides customised electronic business solutions.

After a trial, he was found guilty of misappropriating three million shares of a subsidiary belonging to the firm and was sentenced on May 4, 2017, to 30 months' jail.

He also had other charges, but they were stood down to be dealt with at a later date. Court documents did not reveal details of these charges.

Ng indicated in 2017 that he wanted to appeal against his conviction and sentence, and was allowed bail. He was also granted permission to leave Singapore for business reasons.

On Feb 18 last year, a pre-trial conference involving the stood-down charges was held before District Judge Lim Tse Haw.

Acting on instructions from Ng, his unsuspecting lawyer, Mr Lim Chee San, said that his client would be returning to Singapore from China where he was purportedly seeking "medical treatment".

Judge Lim ordered that a copy of Ng's flight ticket be uploaded onto the State Courts online portal, called the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS).

Mr Lim Chee San later received from Ng a bogus electronic ticket itinerary, which indicated that he would be arriving in Singapore on March 13 last year, after a stopover in Indonesia. The lawyer then uploaded it onto ICMS on Feb 25.

Meanwhile, Ng travelled to Indonesia and asked a man known as Ali Ruslan to forge a death certificate stating he had died there on March 10 that year.

Ali Ruslan e-mailed the forged document to Mr Lim Chee San, who tendered it during the appeal hearing five days later.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran said: "If the appeal had been abated, the authorities would not have been able to take any further steps, such as issue a warrant of arrest or an Interpol notice, to apprehend the accused.

"The accused had therefore intended to evade apprehension by the authorities when he instigated (Mr Lim Chee San) to tender a forged death certificate."

In a statement on Monday, the Singapore Police Force said that the Commercial Affairs Department had carried out checks on Ng's purported death and officers found that he had travelled to Malaysia on several occasions after March 10 last year.

With assistance from the Royal Malaysian Police, he was arrested in Kuala Lumpur about five months later and brought back to Singapore.

For abetting the fabrication of false evidence in a judicial proceeding, offenders can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.

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