Singapore soldiers
Singapore soldiers Reuters

Singapore police caught a man, who was trying to run away from the officers who questioned him at Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange on Saturday evening, November 3. Later, they came to know that the young man failed to report to his camp for national service.

The officers were patrolling at the location at around 7 pm on Saturday when they spotted the man, who was behaving suspiciously. When the police officials asked him to show his identification card, the unnamed man said it was not with him and he provided his NRIC number.

Later officials identified him as a full-time national serviceman (NSF) and noticed that the 20-year-old man was avoiding the service.

During the interrogation, the man tried to run from police but he was caught immediately at the same location.

In last September, during the parliament session it was reported that over last five years, almost 25 cases of NSFs convicted of being absent without official leave, commonly known as AWOL cite financial needs as the main reason behind such offence.

As per Singapore's military law, any serviceman or woman who is absent from where he or she is lawfully required to be present is liable under this section. It is a defence that the serviceman or woman was absent due to a result of circumstances over which he or she had no control. The convicts of such cases can be imprisoned for up to two years.

In addition to that under SAF Act, "absence without leave escalates into the offence of desertion if the serviceman/woman is not only absent from where he/she is lawfully required to be present, but is also found to have intended to remain permanently absent from duty without lawful authority when/after he/she has failed to report to his place of duty (s 23(2)(b))." In such cases, the offender may face a jail term up to 10 years.