SINGAPORE - Former businessman Zeng Guoyuan was arrested on Saturday (Aug 25) after he allegedly verbally abused a man in Orchard Road.
The police said they were alerted to the incident at 5.40pm and arrested a 64-year-old man for disorderly behaviour.
The Straits Times understands that Mr Zeng, better known as "Parrot Man", had been playing loud music from a speaker in a busker's designated area along the shopping belt. When the busker told Mr Zeng to lower the volume, the latter used vulgar language on him.
The police said that Mr Zeng "shouted loudly and caused a ruckus" when approached by officers, and that he persisted with his actions despite being given several warnings.
Police investigations are ongoing.
The busker in his 20s, who wished to be known only as Mr Tan, told ST that Mr Zeng has been disrupting busker performances in the past couple of years.
“He normally comes on the weekends. He will wait for a crowd to grow around a performing busker, before coming in to play loud music and pressure the crowd to give him money,” he said.
Mr Tan said that at least 10 buskers he knows personally have been affected by Mr Zeng’s antics and have complained to the authorities, although this is the first time a police report has been made.
“We know that they (people like Mr Zeng) have to make money too, so we’ve been nice. But when we work so hard to get the busking licence, and this guy just comes over and spits on what we do, it really makes us ask why we bothered to get a licence,” he added.
A video of the arrest, which was put up on Facebook by user Titus KC Yap, has garnered more than 400,000 views since it was uploaded on Saturday night.
In the 2½-minute clip, police officers can be seen trying to lift Mr Zeng out of a wheelchair while he clings on to its hand rests. Mr Zeng's pet parrot, which earned him his nickname, perches itself on one of the officers' shoulders as the scene unfolds.
This is not the first time that Mr Zeng has got into trouble with the law.
In 2008, he was given the nickname "Parrot Man" after blaming his pet parrot for getting him arrested and charged with using abusive language on two police officers. He was fined $2,500.
He is also known for his unsuccessful attempts at contesting the 2011 general election and presidential election.
Mr Zeng was diagnosed with nose cancer in 2014 and had to undergo surgery, leaving a gaping hole in his face where his nose used to be. He told The New Paper in a 2015 interview that he was making a living by selling tissue paper outside the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho temple in Waterloo Street.
Last year, local media reported that the management of shopping mall Ngee Ann City had put up a notice on its premises warning the public not to donate any money to Mr Zeng.
The management had also called the police over 30 times that year to report that Mr Zeng had been pretending to be crippled while selling tissue packets along the underground pedestrian walkway linking Ngee Ann City and Wisma Atria.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.