Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Third Security Breach At Woodlands Checkpoint

Update: 22 Apr 2014: Driver nabbed in another checkpoint incident

A 33-year-old Malaysian man was arrested yesterday for trying to evade immigration clearance at Woodlands Checkpoint, slightly more than one week after a similar incident occurred. In a similar incident on April 13, Koh Chin Had, 42, tried to slip past immigration officers at the same checkpoint by tailgating the car in front. The two incidents followed two high-profile breaches earlier at Woodlands Checkpoint.

Last month, a Malaysian delivery driver managed to drive off in his Singapore-registered car while undergoing security checks, sparking a five-hour search before he was arrested. Tan Chu Seng, 64, allegedly drove over a cat-claw security barrier that was activated to stop him.

Less than two months earlier, in January, a Malaysian teacher gave immigration officers the slip by tailgating another car at the checkpoint. Nurul Rohana Ishak, 27, was arrested three days later when she entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs compound.

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Man arrested for trying to tailgate through Woodlands Checkpoint
A man was arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Sunday when he tried to evade security by tailgating another car

Since the beginning of this year, Singapore has seen two other high-profile cases of checkpoint security breaches.

In January, 27-year-old Nurul Rohana Binte Ishak successfully tailgated her way through the Woodlands Checkpoint and eluded police for three days, tailgating her way through Cantonment Police Complex and into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs compound. She was later found to be of unsound mind and the charges against her were dropped.

Early last month, a 64-year-old man drove his Singapore-registered gold Mercedes Benz through the checkpoint while trying to escape officer checks, even crashing through the security barrier that was activated. He has since been charged with vandalism and acting rashly, and has been remanded at the Institute of Mental Health.

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Man charged after trying to evade immigration clearance at Woodlands Checkpoint

A man was charged yesterday after he attempted to evade immigration clearance at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Sunday by tailgating the car in front.

Driving a Malaysia-registered Perodua Kembara, Koh Chin Had, 42, was trapped after an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer activated an alarm and triggered a lockdown at the Arrival Car Zone.

No travel documents were found on him. He was charged with failing to present a passport for immigration clearance and stop his vehicle upon entry. For failing to present a passport or travel document, he could be jailed up to six months and fined up to S$1,000.



M'sian driver arrested for trying to evade immigration clearance

A 42-year-old Malaysian man will be charged in court on Monday afternoon for trying to evade immigration clearance at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Sunday.

A media release from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on April 13 at about 12.20pm, a Malaysia-registered Perodua Kambara driven by a Malaysian arrived at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

The lone man tried to evade immigration clearance by tailgating the car in front of him. The ICA officer immediately activated the alarm and the Arrival Car Zone was locked down immediately.


Mobile crash barriers, tracking vehicles to beef up Woodlands security

But while steps are being taken to beef up security after two high-profile immigration breaches at the checkpoint this year, efforts are also being made to improve the clearance process for the thousands of motorists who go through the checkpoints each day, striking a balance between speedy clearance and tight security.

Responding to questions from Members of Parliament on the breaches that captured public attention earlier this year, Mr Teo shed light on the incident last month, when Tan Chu Seng, a Malaysian delivery driver, managed to drive off in his Singapore-registered car while undergoing security checks, sparking a five-hour search before he was arrested. Security barriers were activated to stop him, but Tan had managed to drive over them.

Less than two months before that, a Malaysian woman — later declared to be of unsound mind — slipped past immigration by tailgating another car and stayed in Singapore for three days before she was arrested.


Additional lines of defence’ to be deployed at Woodlands Checkpoint: DPM Teo

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Police will be deploying mobile crash barriers and tracking vehicles as “additional lines of defence” at the Woodlands Checkpoint to stop suspect vehicles from fleeing the checkpoint, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean in Parliament today (April 14)

These measures to beef up security at the checkpoint come after two separate incidents of a checkpoint breach since January. Yesterday, a Malaysian man was arrested after he attempted to evade immigration clearance at Woodlands Checkpoint.

Mr Teo said that after the first breach, various “immediate measures” were implemented to strengthen the security at the Woodlands Checkpoint. This include tightening the coordination between the ICA and Police and improving the response protocols and conducting drills and exercises to validate the response plans. Supervision of auxiliary police officers have also been enhanced.

He added that other measures such as the installation of additional closed-circuit television cameras and enhanced security barriers are being expedited.

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Stringent inspections at Singapore's checkpoints: Masagos

About 350 people were caught travelling with passports that do not belong to them, or were forged or tampered, at Singapore's checkpoints every year for the past five years.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli revealed this figure in Parliament on Monday, as he stressed that everyone entering or leaving Singapore is subject to stringent checks.

He was responding to questions from five Members of Parliament on Singapore's border controls in light of a security lapse that occurred with the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

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Travellers go through stringent checks at immigration: Masagos

On average, about 350 travellers attempting to pass through the Republic’s checkpoints were found to have passports that were forged, tampered with or did not belong to them each year over the past five years.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has also been cross-checking travel documents against Interpol’s database since 2008, accessing it about 29 million times a year to determine if a passport presented had been reported lost or stolen.

Revealing these figures in Parliament yesterday, Senior Minister of State (Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs) Masagos Zulkifli stressed that all who enter or leave Singapore are subject to stringent checks at the immigration checkpoints.

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Some 7,000 Singaporean passports reported stolen, lost a year in last five years

All persons entering or leaving Singapore are subject to stringent checks at the checkpoints, which include travel document examination and identity verification. There are several layers of checks to detect stolen or fraudulent passports.

ICA actively taps into its network of global partners to exchange information on lost and stolen travel documents to prevent undesirable persons from using such documents.

Since 2008, ICA has been using the Interpol's database containing over 40 million travel documents reported lost or stolen by 167 countries, in the passport document examination process.


related:
Third Security Breach At Woodlands Checkpoint
Second security breach at Woodlands in two months
Serious Security Lapse At ICA Checkpoint
'High security' Woodlands Checkpoint security breach on 8 March 2014