SINGAPORE, July 24 — In a bid to “disinfect” a lift at a public housing block in Bishan, Low Ken Lum poured the contents of hand sanitiser bottles that were left in the lift for common use all over the lift floor.
He also tore down four posters in the lift because he felt they were not properly affixed. He said that he wanted to attach them properly with his own tape but forgot to do so.
Low, 50, was fined S$4,000 (RM12,310) today after pleading guilty to two charges of mischief.
The court heard that the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council received feedback from a resident on several occasions between March 14 and 30.
The resident claimed that posters and bottles of hand sanitiser in a lift at Block 182, Bishan Street 23 were damaged.
Low’s actions were captured on closed-circuit television camera footage.
On two occasions, he poured liquid hand sanitiser onto the lift floor and tore two posters, throwing them onto the floor.
He also admitted to taking the hand sanitiser bottles home on other occasions for his own use.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Wee Hao said that Low had damaged the bottle tops and dirtied the posters, causing “wrongful loss” to the town council, which had to replace the posters that were valued at about S$5 each.
The People’s Association also had to replace the hand sanitiser bottles. DPP Tan said that the value of the bottles was unknown as they had been bought in bulk.
Low has not made restitution for his offences.
Appearing in court without a lawyer, Low said that he had wanted to “kill as many viruses as possible” in the lift that was “so smelly and unhygienic”.
He also has a skin condition and is very particular about cleanliness.
“I didn’t cover my face — I did it openly. I know the lift has CCTV,” he added.
As for the posters, he said that he took them down because they were “not very closely attached” to the wall and were beginning to fall.
“I’ve been cut by a falling poster so I have this phobia. This is my first mischief charge — I didn’t want to be (mischievous), if not you’ll see me coming to court regularly,” he added.
DPP Tan revealed that while Low has been prosecuted several times, none of his past crimes were similar.
Most recently in 2005, he was jailed for four years and given six strokes of the cane for house-trespass.
The prosecutor said that for his latest offences, Low’s actions were “clearly quite inconsiderate at the very least”, and they were aggravating because he had misused public property placed in the lift for residents’ use during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the items were of low value and it was not the prosecution’s case that Low acted maliciously, DPP Tan added.
When District Judge Carol Ling asked if he could pay a fine, Low replied that he is jobless and will not make mistakes again.
If he is unable to pay the fine, he will have to serve two weeks behind bars.
For committing mischief, he could have been jailed up to a year or fined or received both penalties. — TODAY