Man jailed for four months for defaulting on National Service

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A 28-year-old man who left for Australia when he was 11 has been sentenced to four months' jail for defaulting on his national service (NS) obligations.

Remington Fhang Lim defaulted on his NS obligations for close to nine years, before returning to Singapore in 2017 to serve his NS.

He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one charge under the Enlistment Act, and another was taken into account during sentencing.

The court heard that Lim had remained outside Singapore without a valid exit permit from June 2008 to March 2017.

He left Singapore for Australia with his parents in 2003 after completing his Primary School Leaving Examination.

Both his parents are former Singapore citizens who now hold Australian citizenship. Lim also holds Australian citizenship, said court documents.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lee Zu Zhao said multiple notices were forwarded to Lim's Australia address in 2008, informing him that he had to report to the Central Manpower Base (CMPB).

But Lim's father told CMPB that his son intended to renounce his Singapore citizenship, and applied for a deferment for him.

This was unsuccessful, and CMPB informed the father via e-mail that Lim had been classified as an NS defaulter.

DPP Lee said: "The accused's father was advised that the accused was (to) report to CMPB to resolve his offences without delay. There was no response from the accused's father thereafter."

Lim then applied to renounce his Singapore citizenship in 2016, but his application was withheld as he had not completed his NS.

He contacted the NS call centre, and was subsequently told that he had committed an offence for defaulting on his NS obligations, added the DPP.

Lim returned to Singapore in 2017 to serve NS. He was enlisted in April 2018 and completed his full-time service in April this year.

In mitigation, Lim's defence counsel said that Lim had been "completely in the dark" about his NS obligations as his father had been the one liaising with CMPB.