SINGAPORE: A man who stole a tap from a police station in Woodlands and installed it in his own home was jailed for three months on Thursday (Aug 15).
Seah Kian Li, 50, was at Woodlands Police Division HQ on Mar 1 to bail his brother out from the police station when he filched the tap worth S$171.20 from the basin.
The theft was discovered almost a month later on Mar 28, when a cleaning supervisor noticed that a tap was missing from the toilet.
Madam Hanisah Isnin reported it to the facility manager for the police station, who conducted some checks and reported the matter to a divisional logistics officer for Woodlands Police Division.
The officer checked closed-circuit television footage and saw Seah unscrewing the basin tap and taking it away.
After Seah was identified, the officer lodged a police report at Woodlands West Neighbourhood Police Centre on Apr 16.
The tap thief's home was raided and the stolen basin tap was found fixed on the basin in his toilet.
It was recovered and seized as a case exhibit and Seah was arrested.
He later admitted that he had gone to the toilet while at the station that night to bail his brother out when he noticed that a tap at the basins was loose.
He checked it and realised that it was suitable for his home toilet basin, and decided to steal it.
He unscrewed the tap with his hands and took it home, despite knowing it was public property belonging to the Government of the Republic of Singapore, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Foo Shi Hao.
Seah pleaded guilty to one charge of vandalism on Thursday. The prosecutor said he would leave the handling of the seized tap to the police.
For vandalism, Seah could have been jailed for up to three years or fined a maximum S$2,000.
SINGAPORE: A company was charged on Thursday (Aug 15) with supplying more than S$600,000 worth of luxury items to North Korea via Dalian, China.
Sinsms, a Singapore-based affiliate of China-based trading firm Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co, was handed four charges under the United Nations (Sanctions - Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Regulations 2010.
The company is accused of shipping luxury items in the form of wines and spirits to North Korea via China's port city Dalian in Liaoning province between October 2016 and January 2017.
According to charge sheets, the company shipped the alcohol to North Korea on four different occasions.
The value of the wines and spirits per occasion was between about S$133,600 and S$201,000.
According to the United Nations (Sanctions - Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Regulations 2010, anyone in Singapore is prohibited from shipping any items to North Korea for repair, servicing, refurbishing, testing, reverse-engineering or marketing.
The United States' Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced in August last year that it would be targeting the shipping industry and others who help facilitate illicit shipments on behalf of North Korea.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said entities based in China, Singapore and Russia use tactics to evade sanctions prohibited under US law.
The statement said that Sinsms and its parent company "worked together to facilitate illicit shipments to North Korea using falsified shipping documents, including exports of alcohol, tobacco and cigarette-related products".
According to the US Treasury, Sinsms handles exports to North Korea and trades in items from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia.
The case will be heard again next month.
If found guilty, the maximum punishment for each charge is a maximum fine of S$1 million.
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MEXICO CITY: Mexico said on Tuesday (Aug 13) it had agreed with the United States to exchange information regarding the deadly shooting in El Paso, Texas, which killed 22 people.
Eight Mexican citizens were among those gunned down in the racially charged rampage in the majority-Hispanic border city.
"Both governments agreed to exchange information on their respective investigations, in strict accordance with each country's regulatory frameworks," the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement, following a meeting in Mexico City between representatives of both nations.
The ministry said it informed the US officials of its concern about the shooting and the perpetrator's ties to white supremacy.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard condemned the shooting as an "act of terrorism" against his country's nationals on Aug 5.
A representative from the Mexican government is scheduled to meet Wednesday in El Paso with prosecutors investigating the attack.
On Thursday, the Mexican government delivered a diplomatic note to the United States, rejecting hate speech and white supremacy, and demanding that Washington provide information on whether there are other perpetrators or potential organizations seeking to endanger Mexicans.
The 21-year-old Texan who carried out the August 3 shooting spree at a Walmart shopping center had published a racist manifesto online expressing fears of a "Hispanic invasion" of the state.
He admitted to police he had been targeting Mexicans, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Critics of US President Donald Trump have denounced his anti-immigrant rhetoric as fuel for the violence.
El Paso, which borders Mexico's Ciudad Juarez, has a population of 680,000 people, some 83 percent of whom are Hispanic.
SINGAPORE: A company called Environmental Landscape was fined S$220,000 on Wednesday (Aug 14) after an explosion in an underground storage tank left three workers with burn injuries, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
The incident happened on Jul 25, 2016 at 131 Lorong Semangka.
Four workers - Rahman Mohammad Ataur, Miah Sobuj, Uddin Mohammad Riaz and Alagappan Vignesh – had been instructed by one Hossan Billal to clean the tank, which was a confined space 3.2m deep and was only accessible with a ladder at the only manhole open at the time.
MOM said that after Miah entered the confined space, Rahman passed him a floodlight and electrical socket, and joined him underground.
Vignesh stayed above ground to observe because it was his first day at work.
As the last worker Uddin was entering the confined space, Rahman switched on the socket extension to activate the floodlight.
"This sparked off an explosion which was strong enough to propel Uddin and the ladder out of the confined space’s entrance," the press release stated.
Burnt, Uddin ran and dived into a nearby pool, while other workers helped Rahman and Miah out of the space.
All three were taken to hospital.
"BLATANT DISREGARD FOR WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH"
MOM's investigations revealed that Environmental Landscape had failed to conduct any risk assessment for the activities related to the cleaning of the confined space.
Critical hazards such as the presence of toxic or flammable gases were neither identified nor addressed before the workers entered the space to carry out work.
MOM added that all four workers were not trained to work within a confined space and neither were they informed of the risks involved, such as oxygen deficiency and the build-up of flammable or toxic gases.
The company had also failed to inform the workers of the safety precautions that should have been taken, and did not develop and implement procedures for dealing with emergencies that might arise while its employees were at work in a confined space.
In connection with the incident, Hossan was also charged for instructing the workers to perform the cleaning works without ensuring that it was safe to do so.
MOM’s Director of Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate, Mr Sebastian Tan said: “The company had endangered the lives of its workers by requiring them to perform a high-risk job without any training, instruction, safety equipment or emergency rescue system."
"This blatant disregard for workplace safety and health is unacceptable. We will continue to press for high fines against employers who knowingly put their workers at risk," he added.
SINGAPORE: A FoodPanda delivery rider who got into a fight with a colleague, slashing him and striking him with a motorcycle helmet, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years' jail and six strokes of the cane on Wednesday (Aug 14).
Eng Guan Hong, 40, had a job delivering food along with 29-year-old Batman Suparman.
The two men covered the same area in their work and were also members of a WhatsApp chat group with other FoodPanda delivery riders.
GOT UPSET OVER THE WORD "BODOH"
Sometime in the morning of Jan 28 this year, Eng sent a voice message to the group chat, saying that FoodPanda had a new scheme for riders and those who did not sign up for the new scheme were "bodoh", Malay for "stupid".
Mr Batman was offended at the use of the term and replied to tell Eng not to use that word.
The two men began exchanging messages in intensity and Eng repeatedly challenged Mr Batman to meet up with him to settle their differences, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Dillon Kok.
Mr Batman eventually agreed to meet Eng at United House, where the FoodPanda office was located, as he was meeting his friends nearby.
When Mr Batman arrived at United House at about 2.40pm that same day, he sent Eng a text to say he had reached the area. Eng, who was in the office, armed himself with a penknife bearing a 10.5cm-long blade and lied to his manager that he needed it to adjust his electric scooter.
He concealed the penknife in his back pocket and armed himself with a motorcycle helmet before leaving.
When he saw Mr Batman outside United House, Eng started swinging the motorcycle helmet at Mr Batman's head repeatedly.
Mr Batman tried to use his arm to block the blows, but was still struck on the left side of his head, and the helmet fell to the ground.
Other FoodPanda riders tried to stop Eng, but could not.
HE SLASHED BATMAN'S FACE
Eng then picked up the penknife that had fallen from his pocket to the ground, and charged towards Mr Batman, defying other riders who tried to restrain him.
As Mr Batman backed away, he tripped and fell, and Eng slashed at his face repeatedly with the penknife.
Although Mr Batman tried to ward off the blows with his arms, he was cut near his nose and above his ear.
The other riders managed to push Eng away, but he still managed to charge at Mr Batman and threw some punches at his face.
He stopped his onslaught only after colleagues from the FoodPanda office arrived at the scene and managed to pull him away.
Mr Batman then went to a nearby police station along with some riders to lodge a report.
He sought medical treatment at Singapore General Hospital later that day and was found to have lacerations over his nose, face and hand.
A doctor said in a medical report that the cuts on his face are expected to leave scars when healed.
Eng pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon, with a second charge of causing hurt with the helmet taken into consideration.
SIGNIFICANT PREMEDITATION, DID NOT TRY TO RESOLVE MINOR GRIEVANCE
The prosecutor pushed for the sentence that was eventually given, saying that there was significant premeditation on Eng's part, as he had armed himself with not one but two weapons before meeting Mr Batman.
He did not even attempt to resolve what was essentially a very minor grievance, said the prosecutor, but started lashing out at the younger man with the helmet when he met him.
The assault was a sustained one, first with the use of the helmet, then the penknife, said Mr Kok.
Even when Mr Batman was on the ground, Eng continued to slash at his face, targeting his head and face with the penknife.
Mr Batman sustained serious injuries, said the prosecutor, and there is a possibility of scarring.
He noted also that Eng had a string of previous convictions, starting from theft in 1999 and a similar offence of voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon in 2004, for which he received two years' jail and six strokes of the cane.
BATMAN ANNOYED MY CLIENT: DEFENCE
Defence lawyer T M Sinnadurai said Mr Batman had repeatedly annoyed and challenged Eng. The prosecutor said he could accept that Mr Batman had annoyed Eng, but pointed to the statement of facts which said Eng had started the fight.
Mr Sinnadurai said the helmet used was more like a bicycle helmet and was relatively light, and that the medical report did not indicate serious injuries, as Mr Batman received only four days' medical leave and the longest laceration measured only 3cm.
"Nevertheless it is indeed a serious offence where a knife was used and the accused is not making any excuses for his actions," said the lawyer.
"He is telling this court that he will change to a new leaf and stay away from committing further offences of any nature."
For voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon, Eng could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments.
Mr Batman became an Internet celebrity for his unusual name about a decade ago and made global headlines in 2013 after he was jailed for two years and nine months for theft, housebreaking and taking heroin.
SYDNEY: A man was taken into custody for his suspected involvement in a stabbing incident in Sydney’s central business district, police said on Tuesday (Aug 13).
"About 2pm, emergency services responded following reports a man was walking along York Street, Sydney, armed with a knife," New South Wales (NSW) Police Force said in a Facebook post.
"As police made their way to the location, there were multiple reports the man had stabbed someone near the corner of King and Clarence Streets."
It added: "Police and NSW Ambulance paramedics located a woman inside a hotel, who had a stab wound. She has been taken to hospital in a stable condition."
The man was detained by members of the public, before he was arrested, NSW Police Force said.
"Officers from Sydney City Police Area Command, and various specialist police, are conducting proactive patrols the area, but it is believed there is no further threat to public safety," police added.
The arrest came after police had put out an advisory urging the public to avoid the area around King and Clarence Streets, where they said they were conducting an operation.
Photos posted on social media showed a number of police cars and ambulances in the vicinity.
SINGAPORE: Some MRT stations on the North-South Line (NSL) will open late and close early from in August and September to facilitate power supply system renewal and maintenance works, SMRT said in a media release on Tuesday (Aug 13).
Six stations between Bukit Batok and Marsiling will open at about 8am on weekends from Aug 24 to Sep 1.
From Sep 6 to Sep 28, four stations between Bukit Batok and Yew Tee will close earlier, at 11pm, on selected Fridays and Saturdays.
“The additional engineering hours will be used to carry out viaduct bearing replacement works and installation of 22kV cables as part of the power supply system renewal works,” SMRT said.
During these days, shuttle buses will be available for commuters travelling between affected MRT stations, it added. “The buses will stop at designated bus stops near the affected MRT stations to pick up and drop off passengers.”
In its release, SMRT also advised commuters to plan their commute and check the departure times at affected MRT stations. “The timing of the last trains’ departure from each station during the planned closures will vary,” it said.
“More time may also be needed to travel between MRT stations using the shuttle bus services.”
SINGAPORE: Singapore's central bank is raising its guard against money launderers increasingly using onshore shell companies to mask their transactions, a senior official said.
Ms Valerie Tay, who heads the anti-money laundering department at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said banks had closed accounts of several onshore shell companies over the past year, after detecting unlawful transactions.
"When we looked deeper into the risks, we realised that while criminals may still be using offshore companies, actually they have shifted to using onshore companies to evade detection," Ms Tay told Reuters in an interview, adding that this trend was also noticed in other financial centres.
"And that's when we started to be concerned. Because when the modus operandi of criminals shifts to evade detection and the industry isn't vigilant enough, the criminals can get their way," she said.
Singapore's position as one of the world's leading financial centres and a trade hub make it particularly vulnerable to money laundering due to large cross-border flows.
Traditionally, money launderers and tax evaders have used shell companies in offshore centres worldwide. But the relative ease of starting a business in Singapore renders it potentially more vulnerable to misuse of shell firms, which otherwise have many legitimate purposes.
Ms Tay, a 20-year veteran at MAS and former journalist, said red flags at shell companies included disproportionately large or high-velocity transactions and unusual patterns in dealings.
She said the MAS has told banks to "actively look for shell companies that can be abused for illicit financing. So there's a supervisory expectation for pro-active detection and disruption of illicit finance."
Data analytics and network analysis had helped banks map out relationship linkages to detect unlawful transactions at shell companies in the past year, Ms Tay said.
The MAS' anti-money laundering department, set up three years ago to conduct functions that were carried out by different units, has grown to 30 specialists from 20. It works closely with the Commercial Affairs Department.
In 2015, Singapore discovered that funds linked to a scandal-ridden Malaysian state fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd, had been laundered through its banking system. As a result, MAS shut down the local units of two private banks in 2016, froze millions of dollars in bank accounts, charged private bankers and imposed fines on banks.
"It was a wake-up call for everyone," said Ms Tay.
YES Chicken Rice gave out more than 1200 set of chicken rice on 9 August NDP to Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation
To commemorate our Nation's birthday on 9 August, YES Chicken collaborated with Shin Min Daily Newspaper to give out 890 sets of chicken rice by artistes Lawrence Hiew and Danielle Gan.
Those who possessed Pioneer Generation, Merdeka Generation cards and those who are 54 years old were entitled to a packet of chicken rice each. Readers who purchased copies of Shin Min newspaper also received a packet of chicken rice worth $2.80.
Even before the start of the event, there was already a queue forming in front of YES Chicken Rice stall and many people had also bought a copy of Shin Min Daily Newspaper.
At 8.45am, the giveaway kick-started. Artistes Lawrence Hiew and Danielle Gan were helping to take orders and packed the packets of chicken rice for all the folks, as well as promoting the special giveaway by YES Chicken and Shin Min Daily Newspaper.
By 11am, YES Chicken was out of stock for their chicken and had to prepare their new batch of chicken. By this time, they had already given out more than 1000 packets of chicken rice. Whole chickens were also sold at an incredible price of $8.90 in conjunction with National Day. More than 100 whole chickens were also snatched by the folks.
Founder of YES Chicken, Chef Sing, explained that to celebrate his opening of YES Chicken second outlet on 4 August and National Day, he thought of returning back to society and thus the idea of giveaway chicken rice for our Pioneer Generation & Merdeka Generation in particular.
Artistes Lawrence and Danielle, including Chef Sing were all grateful for the opportunity to do their little part for Singapore on its birthday and also the support from all the patrons to make this meaningful event a successful one.
YES Chicken (Chicken Rice):
Block 57, New Upper Changi Road, #01-1368, New Changi Eating House, Singapore 461057
9.30am - 9.30pm (Monday to Sunday)