71-year-old arrested for alleged vandalism

71-year-old arrested for alleged vandalism
A defaced bus service information panel at a bus stop at Hill Street discovered on 23 May 2014. It was one of at least five bus stops defaced with text in apparent support of Mr Roy Ngerng, the blogger who insinuated that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was “misappropriating” CPF money.

A 71-year-old man has been arrested for his suspected involvement in acts of vandalism discovered around the Clarke Quay area last week that appeared to be in support of blogger Roy Ngerng.

The police, in a media statement yesterday, said they were alerted to the graffiti when a report was lodged last Friday morning about a bus stop advertisement board along Hill Street that had been defaced.

Officers then carried out checks and found similar graffiti at 11 other bus stops along Clemenceau Avenue, River Valley Road, Hill Street and Victoria Street. Graffiti was found at two other spots - on the electrical box at the junction of Hill Street and North Boat Quay, and stone seats along Stamford Road.

Phrases such as "We support CPF blogger" and "Return our CPF money" were scrawled in black block letters across at least six of the affected areas.

These appeared to be messages backing Mr Ngerng, who received a letter of demand from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on May 18 for defamatory remarks made about Mr Lee in a blog post recently.

The arrest of the suspect on Tuesday stemmed from police operations and inspections of closed-circuit television footage.

Anyone found guilty of vandalism could face imprisonment of up to three years, or a fine up to $2,000, and could also receive between three and eight strokes of the cane. However, as the suspect is above 50, he will not be caned if convicted.

Mr Ngerng, a 33-year-old health-care worker, told The Straits Times he was "saddened" by the news of the older man's arrest, and was worried for him.

"He might not have used the most appropriate way to express his dissatisfaction. He could have joined me to engage the Government," he said.

Mr Ngerng said he would contact his lawyer M. Ravi to see if they could contribute to the suspect's legal assistance if needed. 

In an unrelated act of vandalism a few weeks ago, profanities directed at the ruling party and the police were spray-painted on a Toa Payoh Housing Board block rooftop. Five teens were arrested and charged for involvement in that incident.

A train at SMRT's Bishan depot was also reportedly defaced on May 5.

hpeishan@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 29, 2014.
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