Man guilty of stick­ing tooth­picks in bus seats

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

SIN­GA­PORE: A 60-year-old Sin­ga­porean pleaded guilty to “mis­chief” on Wednesday after he was caught stick­ing tooth­picks in bus seats, a case that high­lights the coun­try’s tough ap­proach to even mi­nor crimes.

The city-state, whose crime rates are among the world’s low­est, has harsh laws for mi­nor of­fences such as van­dal­ism, which can be pun­ished with can­ing.

The im­port and sale of chew­ing gum is banned ex­cept for med­i­cal rea­sons.

Lim Lye Seng ad­mit­ted the of­fence in court and asked to be fined, al­though pros­e­cu­tors are push­ing for jail time. The “mis­chief” of­fence car­ries a maximum one-year jail term. He is due to be sen­tenced next month. “I am plead­ing for your hon­our’s le­niency,” Lim told the court through an in­ter­preter, adding he was sup­port­ing two young chil­dren and el­derly par­ents.

Lim stuck tooth­picks in bus seats four times be­tween July and Au­gust and told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he did it as a prank be­cause he was bored, ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors.

The case came to light after a pic­ture on Face­book of three tooth­picks stick­ing out of a bus seat went vi­ral.

Sin­ga­pore has faced crit­i­cism from rights groups about crack­ing down hard on rel­a­tively mi­nor crimes.

In 2015, two young Ger­man men were sen­tenced to nine months in prison and three strokes of the cane for spray-paint­ing a metro train. – AFP

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