Singaporean who stayed in Thailand for over 5 years without exit permit fined

·Senior Reporter
·1-min read
A recruit dashes across a field during training at Pulau Tekong.
A recruit dashes across a field during training at Pulau Tekong. (PHOTO: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — After getting married, a Singaporean man moved to Thailand in 2015 to be with his wife.

When Joseph Tan Li-Gen, 36, returned to Singapore more than five years later, he was arrested at Changi Airport for remaining outside Singapore without an exit permit issued by the Central Manpower Base (CMB).

Tan was fined $4,500 for remaining outside of Singapore without a valid exit permit for five years and 10 months on Wednesday (1 December). He pleaded guilty to his single charge under the Enlistment Act.

When asked by District Judge Marvin Bay why he left Singapore for such a long time, Tan said that he went to Thailand after he was married and had a child. His mother-in-law was later diagnosed with cancer there.

Tan currently has two children, one of whom is his stepdaughter, who is in Thailand awaiting approval from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to enter Singapore. He added that he ran a restaurant in Thailand.

The court heard that Tan completed his full-time national service on 24 June 2005 and was assigned to the Singapore Armed Forces, 490 SAR for his Operationally Ready National Service training cycle. He was later assigned to another unit. 

On 1 March 2015, Tan departed Singapore without a permit and only returned on 31 December last year. 

Tan could have been jailed up to three years, fined up to $10,000, or both under the Enlistment Act. 

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