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Thai citizen born in Bangkok pleads guilty to defaulting on NS in Singapore

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Old 28-08-2018, 02:54 PM   #1
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Thai citizen born in Bangkok pleads guilty to defaulting on NS in Singapore

He was born and raised in Thailand, and graduated from Thammasat University Bangkok. Ekawit Tangtrakarn, a 24-year-old Thai national whose mother is Singaporean and whose father is Thai, even served three years in the Royal Thai Army.

But on Tuesday (28 August), Ekawit, who was also a Singapore citizen until he was 22, pleaded guilty to one count of remaining outside the Republic without a valid exit permit between 17 April 2010 and 16 October 2015 in the Singapore State Courts. Ekawit’s actions are a breach of the Enlistment Act.

Another charge under the same section, but relating to the period between 17 October 2006 and 16 April 2010, was taken into consideration for his sentencing.

This is the first case of its kind where a National Service defaulter coming back to face charges was not liable for NS at the time of the charge, as by then he was no longer a Singapore citizen or permanent resident, according to the prosecution.

The charge comes about because Ekawit did not fulfil his National Service obligations, even though he ceased to be a Singapore citizen in 2015. Ekawit was registered as a Singaporean citizen by his mother when he was one even though the family had moved to Thailand before he was born.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Mansoor Amir asked the court for a sentence of nine weeks for Ekawit, as a key sentencing consideration is general deterrence for this and all NS defaulter cases.

The accused only returned to Singapore when he was no longer liable to serve since he is no longer a Singapore citizen, said the DPP. After being classified as an NS defaulter, he was advised on two occasions to return, but chose to pursue his university studies instead.

DPP Mansoor noted that while the usual sentence should have been 14 weeks, the prosecution was willing to give Ekawit a five week “discount” as he had voluntarily surrendered himself.

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Ekawit Tangtrakarn, 24, leaving the State Courts after pleading guilty. (PHOTO: Wan Ting Koh/Yahoo News Singapore)
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In Ekawit’s defence

Ekawit’s lawyer, S Radakrishnan, said that his client had no reason to believe that he would still be liable to serve in the armed forces of a country that he did not really understand or had links to.

“For all intents and purposes, (Ekawit) was born, lived, studied, served national service and found a job in Thailand, and identifies as a Thai national. He has spent his entire life to date residing in Thailand,” said Radakrishnan.

“He has never received any benefits from any social, economic, or educational services rendered by the Singapore government or its statutory boards.”

Apart from short visits to his grandmother who lives here, Ekawit never lived in Singapore long enough to comprehend the gravity of the charges he is facing now, added the lawyer.

Ekawit’s mother Genevieve Lim was the only one who kept in touch with the Central Manpower Base (CMPB), a statutory board under the Ministry of Defence that oversees National Service enlistees.

When Ekawit was seven years old, she flew to Singapore and informed CMPB that her son wished to renounce his Singapore citizenship. However, she was told that he could only do so at the age of 21.

According to Radakrishnan, Lim also flew to Singapore when Ekawit was 14, to apply for an exit permit for him. However, she was unable to afford the S$75,000 bond that was required to secure the exit permit.

Ekawit’s father, the sole breadwinner of the family, only earned a monthly salary of 25,000 Baht (S$1048.03), the lawyer told the court. The family could not find anyone else to execute the bond on their behalf.

Radakrishnan added that Ekawit voluntarily “surrendered himself and decided to travel to Singapore personally to assist in investigations and face the charges bravely as he had genuinely wished for the matter to be resolved.”

Ekawit, who works as an application engineer in Thailand, wishes to continue his life there and has no intention of obtaining Singapore citizenship in the future.

Radakrishnan therefore asked for a hefty fine, as a jail sentence would be “manifestly excessive”.

The prosecution responds

When asked by Judge John Ng if the prosecution was disputing that Ekawit was a Thai national from the day he was born, DPP Mansoor said no. However, at the material time of the offences, Ekawit was a Singapore citizen.

And it was untrue that Ekawit had not benefited from being a Singapore citizen, as Ekawit had used his Singapore passport to travel in and out of the country on one occasion.

Ekawit’s mother was also reminded on two occasions by CMPB via email – in 2006 and 2007 – to apply for an exit permit for her son without paying the bond first. Over the years, Lim remained in regular contact with CMPB, which gave both advice and warnings to her.

In an email exchange in 2006, when the accused was 12, Lim said that she had informed her son about “the implication and the duties” he would have to “perform” if he wished to hold on to his Singapore citizenship. Having understood the situation, Ekawit decided to continue his education in Thailand.

But in another exchange in 2007, Lim told CMPB that her son had asked how he could serve in an army which he had no loyalty for.

Further, said the DPP, his insubstantial connection to Singapore is not a mitigating factor. If this was so, others would be able to evade NS simply by saying they had no connection to Singapore.

The fact that Ekawit served in the Thai army is irrelevant: what matters is that he was not here to serve NS when required to, added Mansoor.

The DPP also noted that one of the reasons Ekawit returned to the Republic to resolve his NS offences was to avoid any trouble should he need to travel Singapore in the future for work.

Judge Ng told the court, “(This is) not a simple, not an easy case.” He adjourned the case to 18 September, when Ekawit will be sentenced.

Under the Enlistment Act, all male Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 13 and above are required to apply for an exit permit if they have stayed overseas from a young age or study overseas. This is to ensure that they return to Singapore to fulfil their NS obligations, according to the CMPB website.

For the charge of remaining outside of Singapore without a valid exit permit from when he was 16 to 21 years old, Ekawit can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to three years, or both.

A perennial hot button issue, the subject of NS defaulters was revived recently when it was revealed that Kevin Kwan, the author of bestselling novel Crazy Rich Asians, defaulted on his national service.

Like Ekawit, Kwan, who migrated to the United States at the age of 11, also stayed overseas without a valid permit and is wanted for defaulting on his NS obligations, according to Mindef.
Power lah MINDEF. Put him on the frontline against Thailand, where do you think his loyalty will lie?


Don't want to do NS can renounce but cannot renounce before 21, but since you citizen for 21 years, means you enjoyed the benefit so must serve NS.
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:06 PM   #2
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Power lah MINDEF. Put him on the frontline against Thailand, where do you think his loyalty will lie?


Don't want to do NS can renounce but cannot renounce before 21, but since you citizen for 21 years, means you enjoyed the benefit so must serve NS.
Technically it's 7yrs, he wasn't allowed to renounce, so kiv till 12, then genna Kiv again, then tio dua 9696 by the system...
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:07 PM   #3
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Who did he and his family vote for?
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:08 PM   #4
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Who did he and his family vote for?
they voted for Durterte same as u
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:09 PM   #5
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they voted for Durterte same as u
I am not pinoy.

I do not vote for chimpanzees.
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:09 PM   #6
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marry to a 1k sgd drawing husband...
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:12 PM   #7
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Why would he want to come over and surrender himself and put into jail?
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:14 PM   #8
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Dun even know what the point ish to charge him.

If his mom never registered him or knows about writing in to say he will renounce + defer ns at age 13 and 16 he wouldn't be going thru this monkey business of being charged in a country he barely knows at all.
https://www.singaporeexpats.com/reso...uide-to-ns.htm
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:15 PM   #9
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Ya pawned by his own mum

Dun even know what the point ish to charge him.

If his mom never registered him or knows about writing in to say he will renounce + defer ns at age 13 and 16 he wouldn't be going thru this monkey business of being charged in a country he barely knows at all.
https://www.singaporeexpats.com/reso...uide-to-ns.htm
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:15 PM   #10
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Only sg got such stupid law

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Old 28-08-2018, 03:15 PM   #11
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Kevin Kwan is also no more a Singapore citizen but USA, he got turned down for giving up Singapore citizenship .

Y this Thai no serve NS , ica can approve him giving up citizenship ???

Totally not transparent
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:16 PM   #12
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If he serve 3 years in Thai army , can he still serve SG army?

The prosecutor also one of a kind, day he benefited from citizenship because he use SG passport once in his life to travel to SG. Even if he use Thai passport also can travel to SG...

Last edited by tqx; 28-08-2018 at 03:19 PM..
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:17 PM   #13
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Dun even know what the point ish to charge him.

If his mom never registered him or knows about writing in to say he will renounce + defer ns at age 13 and 16 he wouldn't be going thru this monkey business of being charged in a country he barely knows at all.
https://www.singaporeexpats.com/reso...uide-to-ns.htm
Huh? You mean if sg don't even know she got a son he bor tai zi?
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:20 PM   #14
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Apparently males received benefits need to pay back, regardless of whether they suited for ns. Females no need pay back.

Kevin kwan such creative minds usually will kena depression or tough time in military. Elon musk also buay tahan.

Lulzzzz well done.
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Old 28-08-2018, 03:22 PM   #15
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He should just stay in thailand, come here only kena jail.
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