S'porean serial offender, 20, on probation hurts 3 police officers while evading arrest in stolen car

He started committing crimes from as early as 16 years old.

Fiona Tan | December 09, 2022, 07:20 PM

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A 20-year-old man, who was on probation for past crimes, hurt three police officers while attempting to evade arrest in the car he had stolen.

Stole car

The serial youth offender cannot be named as he started committing crimes as early as when he was 16 years old, according to court documents.

Before his latest alleged incident, the man was facing a total of 35 charges for a bevy of offences ranging from cheating, voluntarily causing hurt, housebreaking, shop theft, impersonation and receiving or retaining stolen property and was given two years' probation in May 2021.

On Oct. 29, 2021, nearly five months into his probation, the man and his male friend, Lakshan Saravanan, decided to steal and sell a car to earn some cash. They were both aged 19 at the time.

The Straits Times (ST) cited Deputy Public Prosecutor Andrew Chia as saying the pair booked a ride the next day on Oct. 30, 2021 through TeleHitch, a group chat on messaging platform Telegram where passengers can request for drivers to fetch them at a price.

At about 8pm that day, both men boarded a black Hyundai Accent from the car park in Compass One, a shopping mall in Sengkang.

Once at the destination in Jalan Kayu, Lakshan asked the 22-year-old driver to buy cigarettes from a nearby shop on their behalf.

The driver stepped out of the vehicle without switching off the engine, and the pair drove off, with Lakshan in the driver's seat.

The driver reported to the police that his car was stolen at about 8:30pm on that same day.

Car was put up for sale

ST wrote that the pair then met up with a 16-year-old female friend.

They used a phone to put up advertisements on Telegram, announcing that they were selling a car.

Lakshan then dropped the man off at about 10:40pm and headed to a car park in Marine Parade Drive in the stolen Hyundai Accent.

There, he swapped the Hyundai Accent's license plate with the one from another car to avoid detection.

At about 2am on Oct. 31, 2021, Lakshan and the 16-year-old girl drove the stolen car to meet with a potential buyer at an open car park on Yishun Street 21 where a group of police officers were lying in ambush.

When the Hyundai Accent reached the car park, the officers engaged him but he sped off quickly and they lost sight of the stolen car at around Yishun Avenue 7.

Evaded police, knowing it would hurt them

Lakshan then met the man sometime later and handed the car over to him. He was subsequently arrested at a HDB block on Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 at about 8am on Oct. 31.

Police instructed Lakshan to send a message to his alleged accomplice, asking to meet at a car park in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4.

The man drove the Hyundai Accent to the carpark at about 8:55am that same morning where police officers were once again lying in wait.

However, he panicked when the officers engaged him and similarly sped off even though he knew that doing so would hurt the officers, ST reported Chia saying.

All three officers suffered injuries ranging from abrasions, tenderness, bruises, and a trapezius strain, according to court documents.

Arrested, charged, released, reoffended

An unmarked police car with three police officers then gave chase to the man, who was driving towards Lentor Estate near Yio Chu Kang Road, but ran into a dead end somewhere in Lentor Plain.

The man stopped the car and started it back up when the police car stopped behind him.

He tried to drive away, colliding with three cars including the police car, and injuring two of the officers inside, in the process.

Stolen car damaged. Image courtesy of Singapore Police Force.

One of the damaged unmarked police car. Image courtesy of Singapore Police Force.

The other damaged unmarked police car. Image courtesy of Singapore Police Force.

The man was arrested eventually and was charged in court on Nov. 1, 2021.

He was released on S$15,000 bail, but committed another crime within the same day, stealing items worth nearly S$2,000 from the Sephora branch in Ion Orchard shopping mall.

Pleaded guilty

He pleaded guilty to six charges – motor vehicle theft, driving without a valid licence and voluntarily causing hurt to a public servant – on Dec. 7, 2022, ST wrote.

Six other charges will be considered during sentencing.

A report was called to assess his suitability for reformative training.

He is now in remand and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 14, 2022.

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