7 months' jail for man who threatened to 'explode' Parliament House

7 months' jail for man who threatened to 'explode' Parliament House

Construction worker Zhang Quanfu pleaded guilty to one charge under the Telecommunications Act for "transmitting a message which he (knew) to be false".

SINGAPORE: Drunk on at least five bottles of beer, Zhang Quanfu called the police and demanded to speak to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The officer told Zhang, 31, that he would not relay this message. Angered, the Chinese national told the police: "I will let the Parliament building explode immediately".

Zhang, a construction worker, then placed a second call to police using his friend's phone to inform them that he was in the vicinity of Geylang Lorong 26. He also gave them his name and told the officer he was dressed in a white t-shirt and jeans.

Police officers later arrested Zhang, who "smelled strongly of alcohol". A blood sample taken from Zhang showed he was intoxicated. He later admitted to having drunk at least five bottles of beer while with friends at a Geylang restaurant before making the threatening phone call.

Zhang, who pleaded guilty to one charge under the Telecommunications Act for "transmitting a message which he (knew) to be false", had another charge taken into consideration during sentencing.

This second charge relates to a second statement made by Zhang, who told police: "I immediately want you to get me a line through to the Prime Minister's home ... I will wipe out the whole family immediately."

While Zhang had no intention to "let the Parliament building explode" and no means of creating any explosive device, the threat is still a serious offence, the prosecution said.

The prosecution sought a jail term of at least five months for Zhang, as the threat "involved sensitive locations" such as the Parliament House and Mr Lee's home.

Zhang's empty threat also caused "multiple police resources to be despatched", with patrols of sensitive locations stepped up islandwide, the prosecution said.

In mitigation, Zhang said he is "deeply remorseful" and pleaded with the court for a light sentence, to allow him to reunite with his family in China who have been worried about him, he said. Zhang has two children to support, and "longs to be reunited" with them, he told the court.

Zhang could have been jailed up to 7 years and/or fined S$50,000 for transmitting a false message containing a reference to the presence of a bomb or explosive.

Source: CNA/xk