The video of a Bentley driver inching forward into a security guard at the entrance of Red Swastika School sparked a furore in January 2022, prompting the arrest of the driver Neo Hong Chye, who will turn 62 this year.
Neo was sentenced to eight weeks’ jail and a S$600 fine after pleading guilty to a rash act causing hurt and driving without motor vehicle insurance last October.
Bentley registered to driver’s son
The Bentley was registered to the company Neo Times, and Neo’s son, 29-year-old Glynn Neo Jia, was the sole director of the company.
Glynn was also charged in court for affixing an invalid car plate with the intention to deceive and another offence of allowing Neo to drive the vehicle without valid motor insurance.
He was fined S$2,600 and disqualified from driving for 12 months after pleading guilty on Feb. 23.
Car plate belonged to a BMW
According to the prosecution, while investigating the case of Neo, the police investigation officer discovered that the Bentley’s car plate “SMP19J” was not a valid registration number and hence referred the matter to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
LTA discovered that the plate number was originally assigned to a BMW 730LI, which was deregistered in May 2021.
Glynn had made an application to retain the number, which was approved.
Bentley was arranged for a photo shoot
Sometime in December 2021, Glynn purchased the Bentley and arranged for a photo shoot of the vehicle to put it up for sale online.
On Jan. 8 2022, he changed the Bentley’s car plate from “SND3291U” to “SMP19J”.
Three days later in the morning, Neo drove the vehicle to ferry his grandchild to Red Swastika School.
Dad assumed vehicle available for use
As the vehicle key was left in their residence’s common area, Neo assumed it was available for use.
While waiting in the queue of cars to enter the school’s main gate, Neo decided to cut the queue by changing lanes and overtaking the waiting cars.
He was stopped by the 62-year-old security officer at the gates, who asked Neo to proceed to the side gate.
During the dispute, Neo inched the Bentley forward against the security guard, causing hurt to his knees.
A passerby then uploaded a video of the incident to social media, causing outrage amongst people online.
LTA prosecutor Darren Teo said checks conducted with the vehicle’s insurer revealed that the insurance only covered usage for motor trade purposes but not for private use. Neo was also not an assigned driver.
Car plate used to promote car sales
Glynn’s lawyer, Ng Kai Ling from Limn Law Corporation, pleaded for leniency and explained his circumstances in her mitigation plea.
She said Glynn has been helping out with the family’s construction business since he was 17, and they decided to venture into the car dealership business sometime in 2020.
Glynn was asked to helm the business and given a small area in one of their factories to use as a showroom.
However, the business slumped, and Neo passed Glynn vehicle registration number “SMP19J” for him to promote car sales.
They claimed it is industry knowledge that “auspicious numbers”, or those with lesser numbers such as a single digit or double digit, are more desirable to car owners.
Didn’t know why car ended up in his residence
On the day of the photoshoot, a delivery of construction materials to the factory forced Glynn to continue the photoshoot another day.
The car plate “SMP19J” was left on the vehicle, and Glynn supposedly did not know the vehicle had ended up in his residence.
He said his “calculated guess” was that an employee, familiar with the plate number, had decided to help them drive the car back to the residence as they would usually do in the past.
Neo, rushing to send his granddaughter to school, drove the car without second thought.
Ng said Glenn does not deny liability and had taken actions to prevent such things from happening again.
Top images via Syahindah Ishak and Mothership reader.