Fugitive deliberately drives into man's car twice, threatens him with knife: 'I will chop you'

Wong Shiying
The Straits Times
Nov 24, 2023

A 36-year-old prisoner absconded while he was under a work release scheme at Selarang Park Community Supervision Centre (SPCSC) and committed a series of offences as a fugitive.

Muhammad Noor Indra Hamzah was on the run for more than three months from Aug 13 to Nov 27, 2022. His original date of release from prison would have been Jan 27, 2023.

While on the run, he stole a car, drove it without a licence and crashed it while under the influence of drugs, injuring three people.

He slept in public places such as staircases while he was a fugitive.

On Nov 24, Muhammad was convicted of 13 charges, including driving in a dangerous manner, failing to comply with directions given by an immigration officer and criminal intimidation.

Another 10 similar charges will be taken into consideration during his sentencing on Dec 12.

The court heard that Muhammad was allowed to leave the SPCSC for work under the work release scheme. He had to return to the centre 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 say what Muhammad was working as.

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

On Oct 31 that year, he found a set of car keys placed on a vehicle’s tyre at a carpark in Toh Guan Road. He drove off without the owner’s knowledge.

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

The lorry driver and his two passengers had head, hip and chest pain after the incident. They were given two days’ medical leave.

Muhammad was sleepy and had failed to keep a proper lookout while driving, as he had taken Dormicum, a medication that induces sleepiness, the court heard.

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

Fearing he would be arrested, he 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 the slip road of Bukit Timah Expressway.

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

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

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

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

Muhammad threatened the salesman with a knife, saying: “You want to find trouble with me, I will chop you.”

After the salesman escaped, Muhammad ran into a nearby forested area.

Later that day, members of the public saw him on Tampines Expressway and called the police, who arrested him.

The police seized several packets of methamphetamine from him, and a urine test found he had consumed the drug several days before his arrest.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew sought a jail term of up to seven years, 18 months and 26 weeks, with six strokes of the cane, a fine of $1,000 and disqualification from driving all classes of vehicles for three years after Muhammad’s release from prison.

The prosecutor said Muhammad had spurned the chance to rehabilitate and avoided serving 107 days of his prison sentence between August and November 2022.

The DPP added that Muhammad had also failed to report for urine tests on many occasions.

During the hearing, Muhammad said he wished to postpone his jail term as staying in remand meant he could continue to get updates from his fiancee on his father, who is due to face the death penalty in the coming weeks.

Offences in Singapore that warrant the death penalty include murder, drug trafficking, firearms robbery and kidnapping. It is not known what offence Muhammad’s father committed.

District Judge Luke Tan granted his request and adjourned his sentencing to Dec 12.

The Straits Times

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