SINGAPORE: A church pastor, who was sentenced to two weeks’ jail for giving false information to authorities, has been let off with a fine following an appeal.
Steven Yang Suan Piau, a pastor at Eternal Life Baptist Church, had attempted to leave Singapore for Malaysia on January 3 this year without the mandatory amount of fuel in his car.
Under the law, a vehicle must have at least three—quarters of fuel in the tank.
When asked by the customs officer, Yang lied that he had fulfilled the requirement and that the fuel gauge was not tampered with.
He was sentenced to two weeks’ jail by Senior District Judge See Kee Oon, but he made an appeal in the High Court.
In his judgement on Tuesday, Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong said the district judge had given Yang the benchmark sentence of two weeks, even though this case is "relatively not a serious offence".
He pointed out that Yang had lied to the officer and this is punishable with a jail term. Still, the chief justice noted that custodial sentence is for repeat offenders.
He pointed out that Yang is a first offender and a heavy fine would suffice.
Describing the jail term as "inappropriate and disproportionate", CJ Chan said a fine of $4,000 is to be imposed instead of the two—week jail term.
Under the Customs Act, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $5,000 and jail term of up to one year, or both.
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