SINGAPORE - A man without a driving licence, who was ferrying contraband cigarettes in a rented car, led police on a seven-minute car chase after he was caught using his mobile phone along the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE).
Massage parlour owner Pang Xinyao, 37, narrowly missed other vehicles on the road as he changed lanes abruptly, ran at least seven red lights and drove against the flow of traffic twice, before he was arrested after a foot chase.
On Tuesday (June 11), the Singaporean was sentenced to 19 weeks' jail and slapped with a $11,200 fine and a two-year driving ban.
He had pleaded guilty to one charge each of dangerous driving, using a phone while driving, driving without insurance coverage and transporting uncustomed goods, as well as five charges for operating a massage establishment without a valid licence.
Another nine charges were taken into consideration.
As he did not pay the fine, he will have to spend another 36 days in prison.
In sentencing, district judge Marvin Bay said dangerous driving must be taken seriously and Pang's offence was "especially egregious".
The judge noted that Pang had been caught using a phone while transporting an illicit cargo in a car he was driving without permission, and had then recklessly taken the police on a prolonged high-speed chase.
"Your heedless driving also resulted in near-misses with hapless motorists and you had gone on to attempt to flee by foot," said the judge.
The court heard that Pang had been tasked by the hirer of the car to arrange for it to be returned to the rental company, but decided to use the vehicle instead.
On the morning of Dec 3, 2017, he met someone called "Ah Biao" and collected a canvas bag containing 616 packets of assorted duty-unpaid cigarettes.
Pang had paid $2,500 for the contraband, which he intended to resell for a profit.
As he was driving home with the cigarettes in the boot, he used his mobile phone along the BKE towards the direction of Woodlands Checkpoint.
Traffic Police Staff Sergeant Nazirul Haffiz Syed Nassir noticed that Pang had his phone in one hand, and the other hand on the steering wheel.
The officer signalled him to pull over but he decided to flee.
Pang almost hit another vehicle as he entered the Seletar Expressway towards the Central Expressway, and he then squeezed into the road shoulder, exiting into Woodlands Avenue 12.
He continued to drive dangerously within Woodlands, beating red lights and driving against traffic .
Pang had another near-miss before he finally stopped at a carpark in Woodlands Street 32.
He got out of the car, pleaded with Staff Sgt Nazirul Haffiz to be lenient and took off on foot, but was caught a few blocks away.