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Bus stop vandal gets 4 weeks' jail

Loh Thiam Hock admitted to defacing advertisement boards at bus stops and a transformer box and will spend four weeks in jail.

SINGAPORE: A 71-year-old man has been sentenced to four weeks' jail on Monday (June 23) for defacing advertisement boards at bus stops and a transformer box.

Loh Thiam Hock admitted to five counts of committing mischief, one of which caused losses of $500 or more. He was given two weeks' jail for each charge and three of the jail terms will run concurrently. 

The court heard that Loh went on a defacement spree after reading a newspaper article on the Central Provident Fund (CPF) on 21 May.

Between 2.35pm and 5.40pm on 22 May, he used a permanent marker to scrawl on four bus stops along Clemenceau Ave, River Valley Road and Hill Street; and a transformer box at the junction of Hill Street and North Boat Quay. One of the phrases read: "We support CPF Blogger, Return our CPF Money."

MediaCorp had to spend about $100 to clean up the defaced advertisement boards. Meantime, SP PowerGrid forked out $1,600 to re-paint the vandalised transformer box.

Loh had pleaded for leniency, saying that he picks up tin cans for a living as a rag-and-bone man. He added that he had been homeless for 10 years.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai argued that Loh's acts of mischief were numerous and committed in close proximity to the Central Business District, where there was high pedestrian traffic.

He also told the court that Loh can seek help from counsellors in prison. Following his release, DPP Lai said, Loh could also approach family service centres for help.

In sentencing, District Judge Lim Keng Yeow said Loh's defacement spree was "unacceptable". But he also noted Loh's age and circumstances, and thus called for a community court conference to explore post-sentencing referrals for Loh.

For each charge of committing mischief, Loh could have been jailed for a year and fined. The maximum sentence for a charge of committing mischief and causing loss or damage of $500 or more, is a two-year jail term and a fine.

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