Singapore Maserati driver who dragged police officer wants car back and lighter sentence

Photo: SG Road Vigilante
Photo: SG Road Vigilante

Criminal offender 39-year-old Lee Cheng Yan had a few requests when he appeared before the High Court today for a criminal motion hearing. 

First, he wants his Maserati back. Second, he wants a shorter prison sentence. 

This is coming from someone who dragged a police officer along the road with his car while trying to escape and then reoffended while on bail pending appeal. 

He is currently serving a prison sentence of six years, four months and 16 weeks. 

Road demon and generally dodgy character

On Nov. 17, 2017, Lee dragged a traffic police officer more than 100m as he tried to escape the law.

He was driving his S$175,000 (US$133,000) Maserati to pick up a laptop from Bedok Reservoir Road when he was stopped for driving without his seatbelt on. 

At the time, he was already banned from driving. 

Lee sped away with the officer hanging from the driver’s door. The officer fell off later and was left with injuries to his knee, neck and back. He was given more than 20 days of medical leave and later medically downgraded by the Home Team’s medical board.

For this incident, Lee was sentenced to a jail term of four years and seven months, issued a fine of S$3,700 and given a lifetime driving ban to boot. 

But that didn’t stop him from getting into more trouble. 

While on bail pending appeal, Lee reoffended by driving while under the ban. He also drove dangerously and evaded a police roadblock.

In 2022, he was sentenced to another 21 months and 16 weeks of jail time, banned from driving for life (yet again) and slapped with a S$1,000 penalty. 

The sentence included punishments for even more offences he was caught up in related to illegal football betting and instigating a man to hack into Singtel’s system to retrieve subscribers’ addresses so a third party could track people down for money they owed. 

Loaded demands

Lee told the court via Zoom on Wednesday that he wanted his Maserati back so he could sell it and use the money to provide for his two daughters who live in Japan.

He added that his sister had been trying to follow up with the Attourney-General’s Chambers for months about it but received no reply.

He also asked the court to reduce his sentence and said that he was “really sorry” for his actions. He stated that he was not fully aware of the consequences of his actions and that the sentences handed out to him were “a bit high”. 

Lee vs Abdullah

Regarding acquiring the Maserati back, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Timotheus Koh said Jan. 25 has been fixed for a hearing in the State Courts over the forfeiture of the vehicle. 

Under the Road Traffic Act, it states that if a repeat offender is convicted of driving while under disqualification and the prosecution applies to forfeit the vehicle, the State Court has no alternative but to forfeit it.

Justice Aedit Abdullah gave instructions for Lee and his sister to be informed of the hearing so they could attend.

On the subject of a lower sentence, the prosecutor said that there had been no appeal from Lee and there has been a delay of nine months. 

Lee provided no sufficient reasons for the delay but said he was ignorant of the timelines given and that Covid-19 isolation was also a cause. 

DPP Koh said he should be aware of the dates as he successfully appealed against his first sentence. 

“I understand what I have done, but the sentences are a bit high,” Lee said in the session.

Justice Abdullah replied, “No, Mr Lee, the sentences are not high, they are right.”

“In fact, they could have been higher, now that I look at it again. Aside from your dangerous driving, it is not the right thing to go around driving while under disqualification on three occasions, it’s not even the same day Mr Lee. Five months each is not high. This is not your first offence, this is an enhanced offence, and you were already sentenced back in 2017 for three months, three to five months is not a high uplift,” he said.

He scolded Lee and said that he had not learnt his lesson and hoped Lee would spend his time in jail thinking about what he did.

“I cannot understand why you can come here and ask for a reduction this way. You should be thankful the sentence was not the maximum,” Justice Abdullah said. 

“You have not learnt your lesson,” the judge told Lee. “I cannot understand why you can come here and ask for a reduction this way. You should be thankful the sentence was not the maximum.”

He went further, saying that there was no merit in the session and that Lee hasn’t even been probed yet about the delay. On top of that, he saw no reason to change the sentences imposed.

Seemingly showing remorse, Lee said, “I really hope your honour can give me a chance and some leniency. I’m really, really remorseful.”

“You’re remorseful? All right,” replied the judge. Cold.

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