A student who tried to "create awareness" about the Falungong spiritual group by writing messages about it in public areas was sentenced to two months in jail and six strokes of the cane yesterday.
Chinese national Gao Bin, 21, used a black permanent marker to write on a viaduct pillar in Geylang East Avenue 1: "Fa Lun Da Fa is good. Chinese Communist Party is going to fall, faster leave the party, to save yourselves."
The message - about the spiritualist movement which is banned in China - was written in Chinese at around 10pm on Aug 21 last year, and was followed by what appeared to be a mobile phone number.
The court heard that Gao went home after writing the graffiti, which cost transport operator SMRT $300 to remove.
Gao's jail term includes punishment for a similar offence a week later at a control box in Lorong 22 Geylang belonging to the Land Transport Authority.
Gao later told police he had wanted to "create awareness" among his countrymen through his graffiti.
Four other counts of vandalism last August, also involving graffiti written in Chinese, were taken into consideration.
In two of these, Gao targeted metal electrical grid boxes in Purvis Street belonging to Singapore Power. He also targeted a concrete pillar that belongs to SingTel, and one other SMRT pillar.
It is understood that Gao is studying English at a private school in Singapore. His parents are in China.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Shi told the court that Gao's actions caused $728.11 worth of damage.
Gao told District Judge Toh Yung Cheong he could not afford to pay for the damage. He was not ordered to pay compensation in the light of this.
For each count of vandalism, Gao could have been jailed for up to three years or fined up to $2,000, and given from three to eight strokes of the cane.
This article was first published on January 21, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.