Driver whose Maserati dragged cop will have luxury car forfeited to the state

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
February 27, 2023

The driver of a Maserati that dragged a police officer for more than 100m in 2017 will have his car forfeited to the state, a district court heard on Monday.

The value of the car was not disclosed.

Recalcitrant offender Lee Cheng Yan, 39, was earlier convicted and sentenced over various offences including driving while under disqualification.

Under the Road Traffic Act, in cases of repeat offenders convicted of driving while under disqualification, the court has to order the forfeiture of the vehicle when the prosecution applies for such an order.

Lee, who is now behind bars, was earlier dealt with in court in two sets of proceedings.

In July 2020, he was sentenced to four years and seven months’ jail and a $3,700 fine on multiple charges, including voluntarily causing grievous hurt to a Traffic Police officer. He was also given a lifetime driving ban.

Lee was under a driving ban on Nov 17, 2017, when he was stopped by the officer in Bedok Reservoir Road for not wearing a seat belt.

While the officer was standing next to the driver’s door, Lee suddenly reversed the car and accelerated forward.

The policeman was dragged along Bedok Reservoir Road when his uniform got caught in the driver-side door of the car. When he fell onto the road, Lee sped off without rendering help.

While Lee was on bail pending his appeal against his conviction and sentence, he repeatedly drove a BMW rented by a friend.

He was handed more charges for traffic offences. In one incident on March 12, 2021, he drove through a police roadblock, drove dangerously by speeding at 140kmh and ran two red lights.

In January 2022, he was sentenced to a further jail term of one year, nine months and 16 weeks. Lee was also ordered to pay a $1,000 penalty over graft charges.

On Jan 18, 2023, he pleaded with a High Court judge to reduce his sentence totalling more than six years.

Lee repeatedly said he was remorseful for what he had done. He asked for leniency so he could reunite with his two daughters earlier.

Lee also asked for his car to not be forfeited, adding he wished to use the sales proceeds to provide for his daughters, who are in Japan.

Justice Aedit Abdullah rejected Lee’s appeal and chided him for not learning his lesson.

The judge said: “You don’t seem to understand the seriousness of what you have done.”

In January, Lee’s sister told District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam that Lee had pledged the car to their elderly parents.

The sister also said that his family is supporting his two daughters in Japan and that Lee had taken large loans from their parents to settle his legal fees.

Stressing that Lee had pledged the car to their parents to repay his loans, she added: “While my brother legally owns the vehicle, the fact that he has pledged the proceeds of the vehicle to return my parents the money – we can argue (that this fact) makes my parents the de facto owners of the vehicle.”

But on Monday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh told the court that Lee is the owner of the vehicle and the car was under Lee’s name when he committed the offences earlier.

DPP Koh said: “Offenders should not be allowed to transfer ownership of vehicles to avoid forfeiture.”

Lee’s sister declined to comment when approached.

The Straits Times

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