SINGAPORE—At a busy border post on the Singaporean end of a causeway linking the island to Malaysia, immigration officials have learned that lightning can strike twice.
Less than two months after a Malaysian motorist breached security at Singapore’s Woodlands immigration checkpoint, another Malaysian driver blitzed past the same border crossing over the weekend.
Tan Chu Seng, 64, drove a gold-colored Mercedes Benz sedan through the checkpoint located at the city-state’s northern fringe on Saturday at roughly 4 p.m. local time, police and border authorities said. Mr. Tan, a permanent resident in Singapore, sped over a security barrier and evaded immigration officers who were trying to block his car.
He escaped the checkpoint even after spikes in the road punctured the front tires of his car. An auxiliary police officer was hurt while attempting to stop the vehicle, the authorities said.
The breach sparked an island-wide dragnet that ended around five hours later. Officers found the car, which had a Singaporean plate, at about 8:30 p.m. They arrested Mr. Tan roughly 45 minutes later. Police didn’t say where they found Mr. Tan and his car.
The latest incident has stung immigration officials, who came under scrutiny for the second time this year for what government leaders and citizens are calling “inadequate” security measures and even complacency.
On Monday Mr. Tan was charged in court with causing hurt by committing a rash act and vandalism. He remained in police custody pending further investigation and couldn’t be contacted. The man hasn’t entered a plea and it wasn’t immediately clear if he had legal representation.
For the charge of causing hurt by committing a rash act, Mr. Tan faces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to 5,000 Singapore dollars (US$3,940). Separately, he could be jailed for up to three years and fined up to S$2,000 if found guilty of the vandalism charge.
It was not immediately clear why Mr. Tan did what he did, but police said they had called four male associates in for questioning. Police also recovered a package containing what they believed could be drugs, but didn’t say where they found it. None of the four men have been identified or charged with wrongdoing.
Saturday’s incident mirrored a security breach at the Woodlands checkpoint on Jan. 17, when a Malaysian woman, Nurul Ruhana Ishak, drove past border patrol and eluded police for three days before being arrested on Jan. 20 while trespassing at the city-state’s foreign ministry headquarters.
Officials have described that incident as a “serious security lapse.”
Ms. Nurul Ruhana has since been charged with criminal trespassing and two immigration offenses. The 28-year-old, who had not entered a plea, remains in custody and could not be contacted. She faces jail time and fines if found guilty. She is due back in court on Friday.
At the time of the breach in January, immigration and police officials acknowledged shortcomings in border security and the police response to the incident and pledged to remedy them.
In a statement released Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also minister for home affairs, said the latest security breach “reinforces the findings of the review after the January dash-through: The alarm and barrier systems at the checkpoints are inadequate, and they need to be improved and strengthened considerably.”
In addition to improving the physical infrastructure at the checkpoint, Mr. Teo said officers need to be better trained to respond to breaches.
Roughly 350,000 people pass through the Woodlands checkpoint each day, making it the busiest entry point into the city-state. About 1,500 personnel man the sprawling 15-hectare facility, completed in 1999 at a cost of 275 million Singapore dollars (US$215 million).
Security breaches at immigration checkpoints are rare here. From 2011 to 2013, 26 motorists were arrested for trying to evade border security.