Man turns East Coast Park pavilion into his 'home', gets 4 days' jail in lieu of fine

Man turns East Coast Park pavilion into his 'home', gets 4 days' jail in lieu of fine

He'd converted a public rest stop at East Coast Park into his makeshift home, and continued "living" there despite being caught by authorities several times within a span of months.

The 46-year-old man had taken up space in the entire pavilion with his "furniture", such as a table and chairs, an inflatable mattress as well as other personal belongings, Shin Min Daily News reported.

The man, surnamed Zeng, was charged in court on Tuesday (May 30) and fined $1,400. However, as he was unable to pay the fine, Zeng was sentenced to a four-day jail term instead.

Zeng had been found sleeping in pavilions along East Coast Park on several occasions between May and June 2022, Shin Min reported. 

In December 2021, Zeng had also entered and stayed in a shelter which was cordoned off due to the Covid-19 restrictions at the time.

According to the Chinese evening daily, the court heard that between April 8 and May 1 last year, inspectors from the National Parks Board (NParks) who patrolled the area caught Zeng sleeping there between the hours of 3am and 6am multiple times.

Photo evidence submitted by the authorities showed the accused lying down on an inflatable mattress. He also looked to have made the area his 'home', with pieces of furniture and personal items such as cooler boxes and fishing apparatus occupying the entire space.

The prosecutor had pointed out in court that members of the public are not authorised to set up camp in parks without authorisation. He added that with Zeng occupying the entire pavilion, there was also no way for others to utilise it.


In addition, the inspectors had witnessed Zeng smoking within the pavilion, despite a 'No Smoking' sign displayed within the shelter.

When questioned, Zeng offered no comment and did not disclose why he chose to camp in the park, Shin Min reported.

He pleaded guilty to two of the six charges under the Park and Trees Act, with the remaining charges to be considered by the judge in sentencing.

According to the Chinese evening daily, Zeng had indicated his intention on May 17 to plead guilty to the charges and alleged that he was unaware that a permit was required to stay in the park.

He'd also indicated then that he was unable to pay a fine and would serve time in jail instead.

Shin Min reported that the judge had earlier ordered Zeng to clear his belongings from the pavilion before his next appearance in court, which Zeng acknowledged to have done on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Tents spotted at East Coast Park despite 'No Camping' signs

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