Jail for polo player who gave false info in PR application

Pakistan-born Abdul Sattar Khan, who his lawyer said is Singapore's highest-ranked polo player, was sentenced to two weeks in jail. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Pakistan-born Abdul Sattar Khan, who his lawyer said is Singapore's highest-ranked polo player, was sentenced to two weeks in jail. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A Pakistan-born polo player, said by his lawyer to be Singapore's highest-ranked, was sentenced to jail yesterday for lying about his secondary school 13 years ago in his application for permanent residency.

The application was granted and, two years later, Abdul Sattar Khan, who is currently a polo manager at the Singapore Polo Club, again submitted forged documents when applying to become a Singaporean.

He was granted Singapore citizenship on July 31, 2009.

Khan, 53, was sentenced to two weeks in jail after pleading guilty to one count each of an offence under the Immigration Act, and another under the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Re-public of Singapore, which pertains to citizenship.

Court documents did not state if his citizenship would be affected following his conviction.

Yesterday, his lawyer told the court that Khan has been shortlisted to represent the country in the sport at the SEA Games in November in the Philippines. According to defence lawyer Thomas Sim, Khan was also the deputy national polo team coach for the 2007 and 2017 SEA Games, and has been recognised as the highest-ranked polo player in all of South-east Asia.

Mr Sim told District Judge Mathew Joseph that his client started playing polo at 11, and turned professional six years later. Khan visited Singapore around 1994 and was invited by the Singapore Polo Club to be a guest umpire and player at a tournament that was on at the time. Impressed by his performance, the club offered him a job as a polo instructor and horse trainer, the court heard.

 

Khan took up the offer and held an employment pass when he started his job the following year. He became a polo manager at the club six years later.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yun Ling said Khan applied to become a Singapore permanent resident (PR) in 2000, and then again in 2006, after he was rejected the first time.

In both applications, he lied about the secondary school he had attended, even enclosing a forged certificate of results in the second application, purportedly from Ibrahim Ali Bhai Secondary School, which his father had obtained through an agent. DPP Chong said that Khan had actually attended a village school called the Government Elementally (sic) School Boti Mianwali, which did not award him a certificate after his studies.

After becoming a Singapore PR, Khan decided to become a Singaporean and submitted similar false information to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority in Kallang Road on Sept 9, 2008. He became a citizen the next year.

In a statement yesterday, the Singapore National Olympic Council said it had not received nominations from the Equestrian Federation of Singapore for the SEA Games.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2019, with the headline 'Jail for polo player who gave false info in PR application'. Print Edition | Subscribe