Bouncer gets jail for tipping off nightlife spots about raids, hitting man with car thrice
When the police raided nightlife spots where he worked, or when he spotted police vehicles in the area, a bouncer would tip off other outlets so they could cover their tracks before the cops arrived.
Aaron Chua Jun Hao, 26, was a member of two WhatsApp groups in which he sent more than 60 tip-off messages between January 2019 and February 2020.
The Singaporean, who had earlier been convicted of driving his car into a man three times in July 2019, was on Wednesday (Aug 17) sentenced to 17 weeks' jail and given a $3,000 fine.
He had pleaded guilty to eight charges in total - six of obstructing the course of justice and a count each of affray and causing hurt by a rash act.
The court heard that the police found out about the WhatsApp groups while investigating other criminal cases.
They discovered that Chua was a member of "Night Owl" and "UncleValet" - two chat groups in messaging platform WhatsApp - whose members comprised mostly of bouncers and employees of other nightlife establishments.
Using code words, the members posted tip-off messages that included the licence plate numbers of police vehicles spotted, the location of raids and the size of enforcement teams.
Eight other alleged members of "Night Owl" are set to plead guilty on Friday. They are aged 29 to 48.
In one such message, Chua had written "Pandora CV now", which investigations found to mean plainclothes policemen were at Club Pandora in Rochor.
In another message, he had written "2pax ssb at middle road do visiting clubs", which conveys that two people from the Secret Societies Branch of the police's Criminal Investigations Department were raiding clubs.
For the offence of causing hurt by a rash act, Chua had in April last year admitted to hitting Shaun Koh Kim Guan, then 21, with his car three times in order to catch him.
Earlier reports stated that Chua was drinking alone when he saw an altercation involving a man wielding a knife.
He decided to help by chasing the perpetrator in his car. Each time the man got up to flee, Chua drove his car and hit him in the back again.
By the third instance, other bouncers had caught up with Koh, who suffered backaches as a result, and pinned him to the ground.
Regarding the affray offence, Chua was drinking at a pub in the Katong area in April this year when he got into a dispute with another patron.
Mr Cheng Si Ren had accused him of kicking the pub's toilet door several times while his girlfriend was using it.
Shortly after, a fight broke out involving Chua, Mr Cheng and their friends - at least 11 people.
Chua's lawyer, Mr Anil Singh Sandhu from Kertar & Sandhu, said in mitigation that his client had given his full cooperation to the authorities during investigations and is deeply remorseful for his actions.
"Aaron unreservedly apologises that he was wrong in driving his vehicle into Shaun's back thrice. However, it must be emphasised that his actions were always guided by the altruistic motive of securing the latter's arrest," he said.
Mr Anil added that Chua had lost his security licence due to his offences, which his client sees "as a major setback in his employability in the industry".
For each offence of obstructing the course of justice, Chua could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.
For causing hurt by a rash act, he could have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000. The same maximum penalty applies for affray.