Trio fined over power-assisted bikes that were illegally modified

Isaac Choo Chi Kin (above), Lee Gee Kian and Low Yi Hong were fined $3,500, $3,300 and $3,000, respectively, following incidents in which the batteries on their illegally modified vehicles caught fire.
Isaac Choo Chi Kin (above), Lee Gee Kian and Low Yi Hong were fined $3,500, $3,300 and $3,000, respectively, following incidents in which the batteries on their illegally modified vehicles caught fire. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW
Isaac Choo Chi Kin, Lee Gee Kian (above) and Low Yi Hong were fined $3,500, $3,300 and $3,000, respectively, following incidents in which the batteries on their illegally modified vehicles caught fire.
Isaac Choo Chi Kin, Lee Gee Kian (above) and Low Yi Hong were fined $3,500, $3,300 and $3,000, respectively, following incidents in which the batteries on their illegally modified vehicles caught fire. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW
Isaac Choo Chi Kin, Lee Gee Kian and Low Yi Hong (above) were fined $3,500, $3,300 and $3,000, respectively, following incidents in which the batteries on their illegally modified vehicles caught fire.
Isaac Choo Chi Kin, Lee Gee Kian and Low Yi Hong (above) were fined $3,500, $3,300 and $3,000, respectively, following incidents in which the batteries on their illegally modified vehicles caught fire. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

Three users of illegally modified power-assisted bicycles (PAB) appeared in a district court on Thursday following separate incidents in which the batteries on their vehicles caught fire. No one was injured in these incidents.

In the first such convictions, Singaporeans Isaac Choo Chi Kin, 24, Low Yi Hong, 31, and Lee Gee Kian, 42, were each fined between $3,000 and $3,500.

Lee and Low pleaded guilty to permitting the unlawful alteration of the PABs and keeping the modified vehicles.

Choo, on the other hand, had allowed someone else to use a PAB that had been unlawfully altered. He also admitted he had kept an unregistered PAB.

Choo received the highest fine of $3,500. He had earlier allowed a friend to use his PAB and it was returned on Jan 3 this year.

Choo had left the vehicle to be charged for about an hour at a staircase landing of a Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3 housing block later that day when his father told him that its battery had spontaneously combusted.

On Thursday, Land Transport Authority (LTA) prosecutor Ng Jun Kai told the court: "The accused... admitted to SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) officers that he had conducted modifications to the said PAB by upgrading the motor - replacing the motor with a speedway battery pack - and had installed a controller."

Lee, who was fined $3,300, bought his PAB last November. The following month, he paid $350 to a man, known only as "Xiao Dao", to install an external portable battery.

Lee used his non-compliant PAB for his work as a delivery rider. The vehicle was near Choa Chu Kang MRT station on Jan 3 this year when its battery spontaneously combusted.

Since Feb 1, 2018, all PABs must be registered with the LTA. Only e-bikes with EN15194 certification are approved for use.

Low, who was fined $3,000, had borrowed a PAB from someone else. Low also bought a spare battery for it on Dec 25 last year.

Since Feb 1, 2018, all power-assisted bicycles must be registered with the LTA. Only e-bikes with EN15194 certification are approved for use.

Another man who delivered the item then carried out some works to attach a cable to the PAB's internal circuitry so that the spare battery could be used with the vehicle.

Low tried to use the spare battery the next day but noticed that there was no connection.

He removed it and continued using the original internal battery, the court heard.

Low later noticed that the spare battery appeared bloated and immediately placed it outside his flat at Tah Ching Road in Taman Jurong.

"Shortly after, the battery started emitting sparks and a fire ensured. The police and SCDF were activated to the accused's home," said Mr Ng.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2020, with the headline 'Trio fined over power-assisted bikes that were illegally modified'. Print Edition | Subscribe