SINGAPORE — After a polyclinic doctor would not prescribe him four bottles of sedative cough syrup, a man turned aggressive and had to be escorted out the clinic. 

A few months later, he used a counterfeit S$1,000 note to illegally purchase the medicine from an online seller. 

Khalid Abdullah, 34, was on Tuesday (April 2) sentenced to 34 months’ jail and handed a S$3,000 fine for using counterfeit currency, possessing counterfeit currency and using abusive words on a public servant.

Three other charges, including two of using counterfeit currency and another charge of using criminal force, were taken into consideration for sentencing.

WHAT HAPPENED 

On March 29, 2022, Khalid went to Woodlands Polyclinic to visit a doctor. During his consultation, he demanded to be prescribed four bottles of sedative cough syrup. 

When he was turned down, the man turned “aggressive” and the doctor called for assistance, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Eugene Lau told the court on Tuesday. 

The polyclinic’s deputy head doctor, accompanied by the clinic’s operations manager and security officer, arrived at the consultation room and tried to explain to Khalid why they would not be able to prescribe the cough syrup he wanted. 

However, Khalid argued loudly and refused to leave the room, uttering abusive words to the deputy head doctor. 

He was repeatedly warned but charged towards the doctor and said: “I am not going to leave, what are you going to do?”

Khalid then grabbed the doctor’s shirt while continuing to shout at him. He was then escorted out by the doctor’s colleagues. 

A few months later in October 2022, Khalid purchased numerous counterfeit Singapore currency notes on e-commerce platform Shopee. 

He then illegally purchased cough syrup from an online seller who arrived with the goods in a truck. He used a counterfeit S$1,000 currency note to pay for S$400 worth of cough mixture and sleeping pills.

Court documents did not state the quantity of cough syrup and pills that were purchased. 

The seller believed the counterfeit note was genuine and gave Khalid S$600 in change. 

On Nov 24, 2022, the Khalid was arrested after trying to use six counterfeit S$1,000 notes.

Court documents said that Khalid tried to exchange the six counterfeit notes for foreign currency at a DBS Bank branch in Woodlands. 

Police searched his residence on the same day and seized 78 pieces of counterfeit currency amounting to S$18,495, which Khalid admitted to purchasing on Shopee. 

The prosecution sought a sentence of between three and five years jail and a fine of S$3,000 to S$5,000 for the offences. 

For the offence under the Protection from Harassment Act, DPP Lau said that Khalid had been “persistent” in his unruly behaviour and used criminal force against the victim. 

In relation to the offences involving the counterfeit notes, he added that counterfeiting is a “very serious offence that undermines the economy” and the currency in Khalid’s possession had a “high face value” of over S$18,000.

The man’s lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu from Amarjit Sidhu Law argued for a lighter sentence of two years and six months’ jail and a fine of S$3,000. 

He said that his client, who is currently unemployed, was remorseful and suffered from multiple ailments, including diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

Khalid has also been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, benzodiazepine use disorder and zolpidem use disorder, according to a report from the Institute of Mental Health, although his lawyer acknowledged that the diagnosis did not bear a “contributory link” to his offences. 

Benzodiazepines are a type of medication that are used to treat anxiety while zolpidem is a medication used to treat insomnia.

For using a counterfeit currency as genuine, Khalid could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined. 

Anyone who possesses forged or counterfeit currency can be jailed for up to 15 years and be fined. 

Those who use abusive language to a public servant can be jailed for up to 12 months or be fined up to S$5,000, or receive both punishments. 

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