SINGAPORE, Nov 24 — A prisoner on work release escaped supervision then committed a string of offences such as ramming a vehicle, illegal drug use and threatening a man with a knife.
Today, Muhammad Noor Indra Hamzah, 36, pleaded guilty to 13 charges with another 10 charges to be taken into consideration when he returns to court for sentencing on December 12.
The court heard that on July 25 last year while Noor was serving his jail term, he was placed on a work release scheme by the Singapore Prisons Service and moved to a Community Supervision Centre where he was legally bound to reside until October 12.
This work release scheme, before the law was changed, allowed prisoners to be released for work outside the prison at the tail-end of their sentence.
Noor left the centre for work on August 13 but failed to return after working hours as required.
Despite calls from his prison officer, Noor chose not to return to the centre for more than three months before he was arrested by police on November 27.
Crashed stolen car into a truck
On the night of October 31, 2022, Noor was at Toh Guan Road when he found a car in a basement car park with the car key on one of the car’s tyres.
He took the key and drove the car to meet his friends.
After the meet-up, Noor drove the car along Tuas South Avenue where he struck the rear of a truck that was waiting behind the stop line for the traffic lights to turn green.
The impact caused the truck to move forward into the centre of the traffic light junction.
Even though he knew that he had caused the accident, Noor fled the scene on foot in order to evade arrest as he knew that he was on the run, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Norman Yew.
The driver and the passengers of the truck suffered head, hip and chest pain as a result of the accident.
Investigations revealed that Noor had intentionally consumed a drug that made him sleepy which contributed to his failure to keep a proper lookout.
Fleeing Woodlands Checkpoint
On November 13, immigration officer Sergeant Ahmad Syahir Sarkawi was on duty at the lorry departure lane of Woodlands Checkpoint when he noticed Noor driving his car into the lane.
Noor stopped just before the lorry clearance counter, then Sergeant Ahmad approached the vehicle and asked Noor if he had any intention to depart from Singapore.
Noor told the officer that he had “accidentally” driven to Woodlands Checkpoint and did not intend to leave Singapore.
However, upon receiving instructions from the operations room, Sergeant Ahmad directed Noor’s vehicle to a screening area for further checks to be done.
As the officer was opening the gate for the car, Noor deliberately failed to comply with the directions, instead reversing his car to make a three-point turn and driving off.
Noor not only drove against the flow of traffic but continued to drive dangerously, even cutting into the path of a Malaysian registered bus that was occupied by passengers.
His driving was all captured on closed-circuit television footage which was presented in court.
Chasing a car salesman with a knife
Later that month, on November 25, Noor asked an acquaintance to rent a car for a week for him to drive.
His acquaintance rented the car from Andy Oh, a car salesman at Auto Leasing, who processed the rental.
About two days later, Oh noticed that the car was being driven by Noor instead of Noor’s acquaintance who was the person that rented the car.
Seeing Noor leave from the public car park, Oh got into his car and followed after Noor to stop him.
As they reached a roundabout near Block 232B Sumang Lane, Oh drove ahead of Noor and stopped his car diagonally in front of Noor’s vehicle to stop him from driving further.
Not wanting to be stopped, Noor deliberately drove his car into Oh’s vehicle twice.
Oh then got out of his car and walked to the driver’s side of Noor’s vehicle where he saw Noor move from the driver’s seat to the front passenger seat.
Noor then alighted from the car, holding onto a knife, which he used to threaten Oh by shouting: “You want to find trouble with me, I will chop you”.
Noor started to run towards Oh with the knife and gave chase as Oh ran away.
Realising that he was unable to catch up to Oh, Noor told him to watch out before he fled into a nearby forested area on foot.
Noor left the car behind as he knew that the police would soon arrive and he wanted to evade arrest, said DPP Yew.
He was arrested by police on November 27 after members of the public saw him on the Tampines Expressway.
At the time of his driving offences, Noor did not hold a valid driver’s licence.
Following his arrest, Noor was made to provide two urine samples and was found to have consumed methamphetamine a few days earlier. — TODAY