Man Sentenced to Jail for Forging Letter to Defer ICT & Apply Passport

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Back when I was a kid, I sneakily attempted to forge a parent’s letter (wonky signature and all) to excuse myself from school, precisely so I could escape the dreaded experience of going through NAPFA training in PE class.

Luckily, my eagle-eyed parents caught me red-handed, and the resulting punishment made me swear off attempting to forge anything again.

However, some people enter adulthood convinced that forging letters is the ticket to get them out of tricky situations… until they inevitably get caught.

On 25 January 2024, 39-year-old Winson Chua Xianwen pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery for the purpose of cheating and was sentenced to 10 months in jail for his crimes:
Once for sending a forged letter of appointment to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Immigration Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to apply for a new passport, and a second time for submitting another forged letter to MHA’s national service (NS) portal to escape from his compulsory in-camp training (ICT).

Here’s how things went down.

Found Guilty Of Sending In Forged Letter In Passport Application to MHA and ICA

Back in 2015, Winson Chua’s Singaporean passport had been cancelled for reasons undisclosed by the court.

In a rather misguided attempt to channel his imagination, Chua emailed a letter on 5 September 2022 that was supposedly from a “managing director” of a construction firm in his application for a new passport.

According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Quek Lu Yi, Chua had forged the letter to intentionally induce MHA and ICA to approve his passport application.

To highlight the urgency of his request for a new passport, Chua also wrote that he had been offered a job as a project manager at the firm, and his job scope included liaising with Malaysia-based clients and suppliers.

For the finishing touches, the fabricated letter of appointment, dated 1 August 2022, also featured a digital signature from the managing director as well as the company’s letterhead.

When the authorities contacted the aforementioned managing director, they discovered the “director” had no such position within the construction form mentioned in the letter. Furthermore, the “director” told the authorities that he had never drafted such a letter, let alone been aware of its existence.

Found Sending Another Forged Letter to Defer From ICT

A few months later, Chua would strike again, sending in yet another forged letter of questionable origin in his application to defer from his in-camp training (ICT) period in 2023.

For those who aren’t aware of what ICT is, all reservists (most Singaporean men under 40) have to go back to camp once a year to refresh the skills they picked up during national service. In Chua’s case, he was trying to wriggle his way out of this otherwise compulsory duty.

Not sure why he’d do that, since ICT is actually a good way to wind down. Watch this video and you’d understand:

In his application for a deferment of his ICT period (which was slated to begin in 27 March and end in 9 April 2023), Chua sent in yet another forged letter to MHA’s NS Portal to back up his application.

Out of sheer convenience (or laziness), Chua reused his previous backstory of being appointed to work at a construction firm.

Dated 28 December 2022, the fabricated deferment letter shared the same company letterhead and the same digital signature that supposedly belonged to Chua’s “managing director”.

Chua’s deferment application for his ICT period was approved on 10 January 2023, but the successful application would only serve to be used against him in court.

While DPP Quek urged the court to sentence Chua to up to 11 months’ jail on the basis that Chua’s offences were premeditated, Chua’s defence lawyer, Raphael Louis, claimed that his defendant’s offences had caused no financial losses and pleaded for a shorter jail term for Chua.

Chua’s bail had been set at $20,000, and he was told to surrender himself at the State Courts on 19 February 2023 to begin his jail term.

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