Sat, Jun 05, 2010
Swiss consultant charged for vandalising train

SINGAPORE - A Swiss business consultant was charged in court Saturday with breaking into a Singapore MRT depot and spray-painting graffiti on a train.

Oliver Fricker, 32, was accused of committing trespass and vandalism in mid-May, and a district judge who described him as a flight risk set bail at $100,000. His passport was also impounded.

A worried-looking Fricker told the judge he needed a lawyer and asked that bail be lowered to US$40,000.

But the judge cut him short and rejected the bail request, stressing the seriousness of the offence.

The official charge sheet said Fricker, who was arrested on May 25, was with a Briton identified as Lloyd Dane Alexander when he broke into the suburban depot, a restricted zone surrounded by fences topped with barbed wire.

Sources familiar with the case told AFP that Alexander was in Singapore on a tourist visa and left before a police report was filed.

The charge sheet said Fricker and Alexander vandalised public property when they cut through a fence and spray-painted two carriages.

A police spokesman described Fricker as a company consultant but further details on him were not available from Singapore officials or Swiss diplomats.

A man named Oliver Fricker is listed in the business networking website Xing as a senior consultant in Singapore working with a Zurich-based information technology firm specialising in the financial sector.

An American teenager, Michael Fay, garnered global headlines in 1994 when he was jailed and caned in Singapore after he was found guilty of vandalising several cars. Fay was caned despite a US appeal for clemency.

Prosecutors in the train vandalism case, arguing for the high bail amount, said Fricker had been due to leave for Switzerland two days after his arrest.

The break-in, believed to have taken place before dawn on May 17, was not immediately detected and the train plied its route in full view of commuters, one of whom filmed it and posted a clip on video-sharing site Youtube.

Photos: Graffiti vandal breaches security at MRT depot
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