Duo 'entered train depot 3 times'

The two German nationals accused of vandalising a train at SMRT's Bishan depot earlier this month had apparently entered the protected place on three separate occasions.

Andreas Von Knorre and Elton Hinz, both 21, yesterday faced two more charges of entering the depot without authorisation on Nov 6 at 2.43am and at about 2.20am the next day.

Both were charged last Saturday with trespassing into the depot on Nov 8 and spraying graffiti on the exterior of the SMRT train between 2.48am and 3.29am.

They are believed to have left Singapore for an unspecified destination on the same day. The Malaysian police eventually arrested them at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last Thursday, and the duo were extradited to Singapore.

Member of Parliament Vikram Nair, who sits on the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Home Affairs and Law, said it was worrying if they trespassed into the depot not just once, but thrice. "The lapses are signs that there was a vulnerability, which ought to be addressed. SMRT should investigate the matter."

MP Lim Biow Chuan, a member of the GPC for Transport, urged SMRT to review its security measures with "greater urgency".

He said: "It is disappointing that despite the enhanced security that was supposed to be at the depot, these two persons could apparently effect entry three times."

When contacted, SMRT said it is assisting with investigations and declined further comment. Its security provider Certis Cisco also said it could not comment.

Yesterday, Mr John Abraham told District Judge May Mesenas he was mentioning the case on behalf of the pair's lawyer Christopher Bridges. The Straits Times understands that Mr Bridges, with German Embassy staff, went to see both men briefly at Tanglin Police Division on Thursday.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh said the duo face charges with serious consequences.

"They are both foreigners and on social visit passes; no ties, no assets in Singapore... assessed as flight risk," he said.

He asked that bail of $100,000 in one surety or $50,000 in two sureties be offered, and that the sureties be Singaporeans. However, no one posted bail for the duo.

Both defence and prosecution will meet to sort out the matter further before the two men make their plea. A pre-trial conference is fixed for Dec 17.

The incident at Bishan depot on Nov 8 was the fourth case of vandalism at SMRT's depots since 2010, and the second this year.

If convicted of vandalism, the duo could be fined up to $2,000 or jailed for up to three years, and given between three and eight strokes each.

The maximum penalty for entering a protected place is a $1,000 fine and two years' jail.


Additional reporting by Carolyn Khew

This article was first published on Nov 29, 2014.
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