NS defaulter sentenced to nine weeks’ jail
A man was jailed for nine weeks yesterday after he defaulted on his National Service (NS) obligations for more than four years.
Jonathan Lee Han Wen, 22, a Singapore citizen from birth, had left Singapore when his family moved to Hong Kong in 1997, one month after he was born, and he lived and studied there.
He went to Lancaster University in the United Kingdom in 2014 for his bachelor's degree.
Yesterday, Lee, who is currently serving NS, pleaded guilty to four charges under the Enlistment Act.
His father is British and a Hong Kong permanent resident, and his mother is Singaporean. Lee was given permanent residency in Hong Kong when he was about four months old, in March 1997.
His mother had chosen to give birth to him here as sovereignty over Hong Kong was about to be transferred to China.
Till January 2017, Lee had used his Singapore passport to travel to different countries, and visited Singapore 22 times.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Lim said: "From around the time since he was in primary school, Lee knew about his NS obligations. (His mother) and his maternal aunt told him about the need for Singapore boys to serve NS."
In January 2013, Lee applied for an exit permit for overseas studies. He was given a permit for a little over seven months. When it expired, he did not return to Singapore. He registered for NS in August 2013.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said Lee returned to serve NS only after completing his university studies.
And in doing so, he had gained an unfair advantage over his peers who had dutifully served NS when called upon to do so.
The ministry spokesman said 13 defaulters, including Lee, have been jailed since the High Court set out the sentencing framework for NS defaulters in 2017.
"If we allow Singapore Citizens or PRs who are overseas to evade NS or to choose when they want to serve NS, we are not being fair to the vast majority of our national servicemen who serve their country dutifully, and the institution of NS will be undermined," the spokesman said.