Charge withdrawn for man accused of providing information on a Singapore Customs investigation to lawyer

SINGAPORE – A man accused of trying to obstruct the course of justice by providing information to a lawyer about a Singapore Customs investigation had the charge withdrawn following a pre-trial conference last Thursday (Nov 11).

District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam handed Mr Selva Kumar Subramaniam, 43, a discharge amounting to an acquittal.

This means the Singaporean cannot be charged again with the same offence.

In a statement to The Straits Times on Tuesday (Nov 16), the Attorney-General’s Chambers said: “After assessing the facts and circumstances of the case, a stern warning was administered to Mr Selva Kumar and the prosecution applied for a discharge amounting to an acquittal for the charge, which was granted by the court.”

In September last year, Mr Selva Kumar and two lawyers, Wee Hong Shern, 34, and Ong Peng Boon, 65, were charged with attempting to intentionally obstruct the course of justice.

Mr Selva Kumar had been accused of providing information allegedly linked to an investigation by the Singapore Customs to Wee, who was then his defence lawyer, between 10am and 11.51am on May 10, 2019.

The information was to allegedly alert a syndicate dealing with duty unpaid cigarettes to clear its premises of the goods.

Wee is said to have sent Ong a text message at around 11.52am, stating: “I talked to Ah Boon to update. Basically: Buffalo is busted. Factory is safe for now but he warns it’s only a matter of time before they find out where it is as they have the SD cars of Ah Boon’s vehicle.

“They can trace buffalo and find factory eventually. So he said to clear everything from Factory ASAP.

“Evidence has come out that ST has been paid by China man. His Zello phone was seized and he didn’t have time delete convos. Bail opened at 55K.”

It was not clear in court documents what the text message was referring to.

The documents also did not reveal further details about the case involving the cigarettes or Ah Boon’s identity.

Ong is accused of forwarding the message to a man known only as Tan Hock Ann, whose details were also not revealed in court documents.

The cases involving the two lawyers are still pending.

Offenders convicted of intentionally obstructing the course of justice can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.

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