A man under a self-imposed casino ban attempted to use his wife’s identity card to enter the casino at Resorts World Sentosa on the 4th of September 2011. A District Judge, who felt a deterrent sentence was necessary, initially sentenced Xu Zhaohe, under the National Registration Act to two months jail for breach of the self-exclusion order. However, the 41-year-old was spared and let off with a S$3000 fine on Thursday. In his judgement, Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong said he disagreed with the District Judge as he felt that the judge lacked a good understanding of the nature of the offence committed by Xu and why he committed it. The nature of the offence referred to in this case is the fact that Xu, through the help of his son, applied for the self-exclusion order to help tackle his gambling addiction problem.
Hearing what the Chief Justice had to say on this case, I couldn’t help but agree. I feel that the self-exclusion act is a relatively good measure in helping families who have members that have an addiction. That is not to say that all families would be saved, no, only those who are willing to be banned from casinos – and that accounts for something, no?
Having said that, I feel that the District Judge who initially sentenced Xu to jail used “deterrence” too quickly and conveniently. Not every punishment should be used as deterrence to others and especially for family exclusion orders. Say the guy is a second time offender; the jail term can then be used as deterrence.
Well, at the very least, credit the man and his son for banning himself from the casino.