SINGAPORE, July 18: A Pakistani-origin polo player, once ranked top in Southeast Asia in the sport, was sentenced to two weeks� jail on Thursday for having lied in his application for Singapore citizenship, according to a media report.
Abdul Sattar Khan, 53, who went on to represent Singapore in polo games and has been the �highest-ranked Singapore polo player�, had stated falsely in his application for permanent residence that he had attended Garden East School, Pakistan for his secondary-level education.
He first tried to become a Singapore permanent resident in 2000 after he was offered a job at the Singapore Polo Club, Channel News Asia reported.
However, Khan was unsuccessful in that application.
He tried again six years later with forged educational documents and successfully attained Singapore permanent residence. He was given Singapore citizenship three years after this.
Khan, who is a polo manager at the prestigious Singapore Polo Club, then managed to gain Singapore citizenship for his son in 2010.
The court heard that Khan�s first lie to Singapore�s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) was on January 24, 2000.
He had not attended this school, nor did he attach any certificate with his application, which was rejected.
He tried again in April 2006, going to the ICA building and stating that he attended Ibrahim Ali Bhai Secondary School in Pakistan. This time, he enclosed forged educational documents, hoping for a better chance of success.
The Board of Secondary Education in Karachi has since established that the documents are bogus, Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yun Ling told the court.
After Khan was caught, he admitted that he lied and had never attended neither Garden East School nor Ibrahim Ali Bhai Secondary School.
Instead, he said he attended a village school named Government Elementally Boti Mianwali.
When ICA investigated the matter, it uncovered a similar false statement in his application form for Singapore citizenship. He had similarly claimed that he attended Ibrahim Ali Bhai Secondary School, attaching the same forged documents as proof.
Khan is still listed as a Singapore citizen in court documents, said the report. He pleaded guilty on Thursday to one charge under the Immigration Act to giving a false statement on his permanent residence application, and another of making a false statement to induce the minister to grant him Singapore Citizenship.
A third similar charge was taken into consideration.
Defence counsel Thomas Sim said his client attended several schools in different areas in Pakistan as a boy, as his father served in the Army and was deployed to different places.
Khan finished his schooling in a rural school in an agricultural region, which awarded no formal certificate to Khan upon completion of his studies. Khan had a talent in polo from a young age, said the lawyer. He began playing at 11 and turned professional six years later, growing to be one of the top polo players in Pakistan.
He visited Singapore around 1994 where he impressed the Singapore Polo Club as a guest player and guest umpire. The club offered him a job as a polo instructor and horse trainer, said the lawyer.
Khan took up the offer and joined the club about a year later, with an employment pass.
He was deputy national polo team coach for the Singapore polo team for both the 2007 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and the 2017 SEA Games. He has been short-listed to represent the country as a player on the national team in the 2019 SEA Games, Sim said. � PTI