Prison workshop supervisor jailed for taking $1,200 in bribes to smuggle sedatives for inmates

Nadine Chua
The Straits Times
January 12, 2023

A workshop supervisor who took bribes from inmates to smuggle pills used to treat insomnia into Changi Prison was sentenced to four weeks’ jail on Thursday.

Calvin Ang Wei Sheng, 40, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $1,200.

He pleaded guilty to two charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Three other charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang said Ang was a workshop supervisor at New Hope Food Industries, a bakery located in Changi Prison where inmates are taught to make pastries.

Due to his role, Ang was granted access to the Changi Prison compound and was subject to stringent checks as no one was allowed to bring in items unless they had been approved by the authorities.

Ang became friends with an inmate, Ismail Musun Mollah, 57, as they worked closely together. Some time in August or September 2021, Ismail asked Ang to smuggle 100 Epam pills into the prison for him.

Epam, which is generally used to treat insomnia, is deemed a contraband item by the prison authorities since it is not prescribed by the prison’s medical team, said DPP Pang.

Ang accepted Ismail’s offer of $200 to buy the pills for $50 and keep the remaining $150 for himself.

He later smuggled 100 Epam pills into the prison and passed them to Ismail.

“Ang did so despite knowing at all times that Epam pills were contraband, and he was not authorised to bring the Epam pills into Changi Prison for Ismail,” said the DPP.

On Sept 5, 2021, Ismail’s brother paid Ang via e-payment platform PayNow.

Ang’s success in smuggling the pills soon spread among the inmates, and several of them approached him to do the same for them.

Ang received a total of $1,200 in bribes from four inmates on five occasions over the course of a few months, said DPP Pang. His offences came to light when the smuggling was detected by the prison authorities.

Noting that Ang’s offences had compromised the security of Changi Prison, DPP Pang said: “He has abused the unique access and trust reposed in him by virtue of his position. These are grave offences which impugn the integrity of Changi Prison and risk eroding public confidence in the maintenance and security of Changi Prison’s inmates.”

In mitigation, Ang said: “I hope you will give me a chance to turn over a new leaf. I’m sorry for what I did, and I regret it. I have learnt my lesson.”

Before meting out the sentence, District Judge Janet Wang noted that the amount of gratification received by the accused was not insignificant.

She acknowledged that Ang did not initiate the enterprise but said he had a “misplaced sense of camaraderie” with the inmates involved.

“Paradoxically, as a trainer at the workshop, he should be training the inmates positively. But he led them astray,” added Judge Wang.

The inmates who paid Ang to get him to smuggle in the pills were also punished on Thursday.

Irees Rahman, 50, Muhammad Shaifullah Ab Latif, 37, and Sidek Jamaludin, 43, were each sentenced to two weeks’ jail.

Ismail was sentenced to three weeks’ jail.

The Straits Times

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