Repeat offender back in jail after absconding on work release and returning to life of crime, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Repeat offender back in jail after absconding on work release and returning to life of crime

An inmate, who absconded while he was under a work release scheme and committed a string of offences including dangerous driving without licence, was sentenced to eight years, one month and 19 weeks’ jail on Dec 12.

Muhammad Noor Indra Hamzah, 36 – who was on the run from Aug 13 to Nov 27, 2022 – was also fined $1,000 and ordered to receive six strokes of the cane.

For driving without a licence, he was disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for three years from his date of release.

On Nov 24, Noor pleaded guilty to 13 charges, including driving in a dangerous manner, failing to comply with directions given by an immigration officer and drug-related offences.

Another 10 charges were considered during his sentencing.

Noor’s original date of release from prison would have been Jan 27, 2023, according to court documents, which did not state his previous offences.

Before committing his latest offences, Noor was allowed to leave Selarang Park Community Supervision Centre for work under the release scheme and had to return there in the evening.

Inmates under the programme, which is now known as the Employment Preparation Scheme, can take up skills training, get an education and work in the community before they finish serving their sentences.

Court documents did not state what Noor was working as at the time.

He did not return to the centre on Aug 13, 2022, and ignored repeated calls from his reintegration officer.

On Oct 31 that year, Noor found a set of car keys placed on a tyre of a vehicle at a carpark in Toh Guan Road near Boon Lay Way. Despite not having a licence, he drove off in the vehicle without the owner’s knowledge.

He was driving along Tuas South Avenue 3 after meeting friends, when he crashed the car into the rear of a stationary lorry that was waiting for a traffic light to turn green.

Noor had failed to keep a proper lookout while driving as he was sleepy after consuming Dormicum, a medication that induces sleepiness.

The lorry driver and his two passengers suffered from head, hip and chest pain after the incident.

In another case on Nov 13, 2022, Noor was in a departure lane at the Woodlands Checkpoint when an immigration officer told him to drive his car to a screening area for checks.

Fearing that he would be arrested, Noor made a three-point turn and drove away from the checkpoint, going against the flow of traffic for about 100m along the departure cargo lane.

He almost hit a bus as he filtered out into a slip road of Bukit Timah Expressway.

About two weeks later, Noor asked an acquaintance to rent a car for him, as he did not have a licence.

On Nov 27, 2022, a man who had leased the car to the acquaintance, spotted Noor driving the vehicle in the Punggol area and realised that he was not the person who had rented the vehicle.

The man followed Noor in another car and stopped diagonally in front of him.

To avoid being stopped, Noor deliberately drove into the man’s car twice, damaging both vehicles, which cost the car leasing firm $1,800 in repairs.

The fugitive also threatened the man with a knife, saying: “You want to find trouble with me, I will chop you.”

Noor then ran into a nearby forested area, but he was arrested soon after.

Police officers seized from him several packets of methamphetamine. After a test, his urine was found to contain traces of the drug.