Indian-origin woman jailed in Singapore for manipulating bike’s number plate to avoid charges

PTI, May 24, 2024, 9:16 AM IST

Singapore: An Indian-origin Malaysian woman was sentenced to three weeks in jail in Singapore related to 14 charges of 68 Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) offences and five illegal parking offences between October 2019 and February 2020.

Deivanai Karunanithi, 28, had modified one of her motorcycle’s licence plates, to evade road usage charges by the ERP system installed across the roads here to monitor traffic as part of a road-tax collection.

It is the first case in which the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has charged an individual for using a foreign-registered vehicle with a false licence plate to prevent unlawful activities from being detected, Channel News Asia reported on Thursday.

She was sentenced on May 10, according to the report, citing court documents obtained on Thursday.

Karunanithi’s offences came to light on Feb 21, 2020, when an LTA officer spotted different numbers on the front and rear licence plates of her motorcycle while it was parked by a lamp-post along Bayfront Avenue in the Central Business District, LTA prosecutor Darren Toh said in the document.

The officer conducted a check on the number on the rear of the motorcycle in LTA’s system and found no record of a vehicle with that number. Upon checking the number on the front, the officer found that it was registered in the system.

‘Given that the said motorcycle was displaying inconsistent identification marks, the motorcycle was towed and impounded for investigations,’ Toh said.

Investigations revealed that the motorcycle belonged to Karunanithi, who was a work permit holder employed as a security officer at the time.

Toh said that she would commute from Malaysia to Singapore using the motorcycle with its correct number, displayed on both its front and rear.

However, after entering Singapore and reaching the Bukit Timah Expressway, she would swap the some numbers on the rear plate of the motorcycle.

Karunanithi did this on 14 occasions between October 2019 and November 2019, Toh said. She admitted to doing this to evade ERP charges.

She was convicted of 14 counts of failing to ensure that the identification mark of a vehicle was exhibited at the back of the vehicle in accordance with Singapore’s road traffic rules.

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