SINGAPORE - A 71-year-old who defaced more than a dozen bus-stop advertisement boards last month, by penning messages in apparent support of blogger Roy Ngerng, was sentenced to four weeks' jail yesterday.
Loh Thiam Hock, who is unemployed, had used a black marker to write "We support CPF Blogger, Return our CPF Money" on the advertisement boards.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai Yi Shin said that a day before Loh went on a defacement spree, he had read a newspaper article relating to the Central Provident Fund (CPF).
The article said blogger Ngerng had removed a blog post accusing the Government of "misappropriating" CPF funds, a day after he was asked to do so by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's lawyer.
Loh, who originally faced vandalism charges, pleaded guilty to five of 19 amended charges of mischief.
Over three hours on May 22 from 2.35pm, he struck at bus stops in the River Valley and Hill Street areas.
He scribbled the words on bus stops in Clemenceau Avenue, River Valley Road, and Hill Street outside and opposite the Ministry of Communications and Information Building, as well as on a transformer box at the junction of Hill Street and North Boat Quay.
DPP Lai, who sought a one- to three-month jail sentence, highlighted four aggravating factors to Community Court judge Lim Keng Yeow.
He said the acts of mischief were numerous and committed in close proximity to the Central Business District, where there was high pedestrian traffic.
The acts were committed on multiple surfaces at various locations - on stone chairs, bus boards, walkway parapets and even a transformer box.
He also said such acts were hard to detect.
Defending himself in court yesterday, Loh pleaded for leniency, noting that he had been in remand since May 29.
Speaking in Hokkien through an interpreter, Loh, who said that he had been picking up cans as a rag-and-bone man, promised not to commit such offences again.
He also told the court that he had no home to go to since his release from prison in 2003 for causing grievous hurt.
But DPP Lai said Loh could look for counsellors when he was in prison, and if he had problems in his daily life, he could approach family service centres when he was released from prison.
Judge Lim told Loh that whatever he might have wanted to express, he had many lawful ways to make his point.
"It is clearly unacceptable to express your views by unlawful means,'' he said.
He backdated Loh's sentence to May 29.
For the offences related to the bus-stop advertisement boards, Loh could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined on each charge.
This article was first published on June 24, 2014.
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