26 Feb 2007

Dr Chee Under City Arrest!

Chee found guilty for 'attempting to leave Singapore'
26 Feb 07

Dr Chee Soon Juan was found guilty of attempting to leave Singapore without permission today. He was fined $4,000 or 3 weeks imprisonment in default.

Dr Chee will appeal the decision and the judge has given a stay of execution pending the outcome of the appeal.

The matter involved the SDP secretary-general applying for permission to attend the World Movement for Democracy conference held in Turkey in April 2006.

As a bankrupt, Dr Chee had to apply for permission from the Official Assignee (OA) every time he wanted to leave the country. He was made a bankrupt when he failed to pay Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong $500,000 in a lawsuit the two former prime ministers took against him in 2001.

When he went to the airport on 1 April 2006, Dr Chee was stopped by Immigration officials and had his passport seized. He was subsequently charged.

During the trial before District Judge Aedit Abdullah, the following were established:

Fact 1: The OA's office admitted that even on the day that Dr Chee was due to leave for Turkey, it was still considering his travel application.

Fact 2: The Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority acknowledged that there was no way Dr Chee could have found out about the status of his application other than to present himself at the airport departure gate.

Fact 3: Dr Chee received the OA's rejection letter only on 13 April 06, two weeks after he was due to travel.

Verdict: Guilty.

Note: Since April 2006, Dr Chee has made 12 applications to travel. All of them have been rejected. This effectively places him under city arrest.

Dr Chee's travel applications

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