Man Went AWOL from NS for 9 Years to Earn More Money


How long can you pon your job for? 

Come in a few minutes late? Completely miss a day by acting sick? Maybe fake the death of a relative for bereavement leave? 

Whatever it is, you’ll never beat this man. 

He was AWOL (absent without official leave) for nine years. 

Man Went AWOL from NS for 9 Years to Earn More Money

The story began in July 2011. Iryadi Ariffin Mohd Hambal was posted to the SCDF headquarters as a full-time NSF

All went well in the first year until he began missing his duty in July 2012. 

Instead of bouncing back and reporting for duty diligently like a typical Singaporean, Iryadi decided to embark on the hunt for Bigfoot. 

Since then, he went AWOL for nine years and three months before surrendering himself in October 2021 after not finding the sasquatch. 

In all seriousness, he missed his duties because of financial reasons.

“I was working because I needed to raise funds, and the NS salary is a bit small,” he said in court. 

According to him, his mother was hospitalised then, and their family struggled to make ends meet. However, his family eventually advised him to turn over a new leaf and confront the inevitable. 


It is still unreported how he managed to escape detection for so long. 

Initially, the prosecution sought the maximum penalty of two years in jail for Iryadi, but he appealed and asked for probation and electronic tagging after a jail term. 

Adding on, he expressed his regret and said he showed good conduct in camp after surrendering. 

Because of his nine-year-long hide-and-seek, he will be sentenced to 23 months in jail, starting from 27 January 2023. 

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Why Didn’t He Seek Financial Assistance?

Many NSFs go AWOL for financial reasons; this case was just slightly more extreme. 

While there are financial assistance schemes for them, it’s often difficult to get. 

The complicated process of seeking financial assistance and the chain of command ultimately deterred many soldiers from pursuing help. 

More often than not, their lousy reputation costs them the money. This comes from either their uncouth background or their bodily tattoos.

Don’t take my word for it; take this ex-NSF clerk’s.

According to him, these soldiers are viewed as “gangsters” with “attitude problems.”


“So it ends up that these soldiers who had financial problems don’t see eye to eye with those doing administrative work, which eventually delayed the financial assistance to the poor soldiers, making them more desperate to earn extra income for home.”

At the end of the day, no matter how desperate you are, the law is the law. There is no escaping NS (unless you win Olympic gold lor). 

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Featured Image: Shutterstock (Brian A Jackson) + Facebook (SCDF)