On 4 July 2022, a couple managed to leave Singapore even when their passports were held by the authorities.
A 40-year-old Malaysian had helped them leave Singapore illegally by hiding them in the container compartment of a lorry. The Malaysian has since been arrested and charged, while the couple, Pi Jiapeng and Pansuk Siriwipa, are still missing, and are now wanted fugitives.
This begs the question: How did this happen?
ICA Responds to Enquiries on How $32 Million Couple Managed to Flee S’pore Without Passports
The simple answer?
It’s impossible to do a 100% check, if not the causeway jam would’ve been worse.
On 23 July, ICA responds to queries from the media on how the infamous couple managed to flee Singapore.
According to ICA, they conduct regular and random operations on departing vehicles daily to deter and detect attempts by people to depart Singapore illegally.
Yes, the key word there is random—the checks are random so as to deter (and also detect) others from fleeing Singapore.
In other words, the couple got lucky.
Enhanced checks will also be conducted on departing vehicles in the aftermath of major security incidents to prevent the perpetrators from leaving Singapore. An example of a major security incident would be a terrorist attack inland.
Needless to say, there wasn’t any serious security threat early this month, so checks were still random.
ICA added, “Targeted and thorough checks may also be conducted on those departing based on risk profiling and information received. While the checks may not be 100 per cent, they are not minimal or negligible in number.”
As to why checks aren’t 100%, ICA said that our land checkpoints are one of the busiest land crossings in the world, where about 200,000 travellers depart daily pre-COVID-19, and so, any delay in clearing departure traffic during peak hours can cause traffic tailback on the roads, such as the Bukit Timah Expressway for Woodlands Checkpoint and the Ayer Rajah Expressway for Tuas Checkpoint.
“It would also disrupt trade flows between Singapore and Malaysia. A more balanced approach has therefore been adopted,” ICA explained.
Simply put, Lady Luck was smiling on the couple.
If you’ve no idea what they’ve done, watch this video to the end:
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