SINGAPORE: Even as authorities are proposing tougher penalties for those who claim to be responsible for traffic violations, there are those who are willing to take the risk, offering themselves as scapegoats in the markets in online, in exchange for cash.
TBEN has found at least six ads on Carousell peddling these illegal services – including one from three years ago.
At a going rate of S $ 100 per demerit point, those with traffic violations like speeding or red light can try to get out of trouble.
HOW IT WORKS
Vendors TBEN spoke to said the two sides would meet in person to pay the traffic fines – which can be done either online or on an AXS machine. The seller would then enter his license details and claim to drive the vehicle to the point of the violation.
The traffic violation would then pay the fine and pay the seller S $ 100 for each demerit point incurred.
This means that if a person were slapped with a fine of S $ 200 and six demerit points, it would cost them S $ 800 to have a good traffic record.
Drivers are allowed to accumulate a maximum of 24 demerit points in the two years before their license is suspended.
READ: Stricter measures proposed for illegal racing, road rage and claiming to be an offending driver
Most salespeople TBEN spoke to were willing to offer only a portion of their demerit points for sale, with one setting the limit for infractions that require a hearing before the tribunal.
For some who were prepared to have their license suspended, these illicit transactions could earn them up to S $ 2,400.
“A lot of people in Singapore (have) a driver’s license but no car… I’m giving you S $ 2,400 every two years, you want (sic)?” said one salesperson, who also claimed to have “a lot of friends” willing to take the blame for a stranger.
He also admitted to having done four of those transactions in the past two years without getting caught.
“It’s only between you and me,” he said.
Another salesperson claimed he sold six of his demerit points just over a week ago, saying “no one will verify.”
Criminal lawyer Amolat Singh said there should be more controls in place to detect those posing as an offending driver.
“(One way) is to have CCTV cameras at AXS stations, like those at ATMs, to verify the identity of the person in a timely manner,” he said.
“Another possibility could be to allow such fines – where demerit points are recorded – to be paid only to the neighborhood police station where the person present should be required to sign a statement indicating that the information is true. and correct, ”he added.
READ: Biker association calls for revision of helmet safety standard after tougher penalties for proposed sellers
Singh stressed that offenders cannot break the law, adding that such cases are currently being dealt with under the offense of disclosing false information to the police.
The penalty could also be more severe for those who benefit financially from these illegal transactions.
“Agreeing to take the blame for another person in exchange for financial gain is an aggravating factor, and that’s why you bring them to the upper end of the punishment scale,” Singh said.
“Already, in the context of helping a family member out of love and affection or out of desperation because the husband may need a license to drive a taxi or take a car, that is enough. Can you imagine if this sort of thing is traded for money, financial gain? ” he added.
READ: 4 cases of illegal speed trials from 2018-2020; 31 decrees: MHA
Responding to questions from TBEN, Carousell vice president of operations Su Lin Tan said listings that encourage illegal activity are not allowed in his market and added that they have since been removed.
“We have issued a formal warning to sellers and informed them of the reasons their listings have been removed… Carousell will continue to work with the appropriate authorities, as well as intensify our detection efforts with both automated and manual moderation. , to keep our market safe, ”Ms. Tan said.
For third parties posing as the offending driver, the Home Office (MHA) said on Monday it would create a misrepresentation offense.
Violators could be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S $ 10,000, or both.