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Jail and the cane for ‘Anonymous’ vandal

The first out of the five men who vandalised a pavement outside Sunshine Plaza on Nov 5 last year was sentenced in the State Courts on Thursday (Aug 7).

SINGAPORE: The first out of the five men who vandalised public property by scrawling phrases feigning links with hacktivist group Anonymous was sentenced in the State Courts on Thursday (Aug 7).

Muhammad Qamarul Arifin Sa’adon, 23, was sentenced to two months' jail and three strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to vandalising a pavement outside Sunshine Plaza — which is a property of the Land Transport Authority (LTA) — with four other persons on Nov 5 last year.

He was also fined S$500 after pleading guilty to one charge of theft which he committed on June 8 this year.

This morning, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wee Hao pressed for a jail term of two to three months coupled with caning, citing that the act of vandalism was committed “in support of (the) criminal act” by the hacktivist group. He also argued that Qamarul played an “active” role in spraying the paint.

However, defence lawyer KR Manicka argued that his client was “not affiliated” or related to any other group. “It was a one-off incident, more of a prank by this youngster,” he said.

Mr Tan then rebutted by saying that the vandalism act had a “certain degree of premeditation” and “not an act of impulse”.

A RASH OF CASES 

On Nov 4 last year, Qamarul, met the four other men — Muhammad Fitri Abu Kasim, 25; Danial Ryan Salleh, 26; and Mohamad Fadzly Aziz, 21, Muhammad Redzwan Baskin, 27 — who were also charged for vandalism.

The court heard that while they were at the bus stop outside Plaza Singapura, the five men began talking about the hacktivist group. Danial was said to have received a call from Switzerland from a caller claiming to be an assistant to the leader of the group. He then told them that the caller asked him to get a group of people to spray the words, “WE ARE ONE. WE ARE LEGION. WE WILL NEVER FORGIVE. WE WILL NEVER FORGET. EXPECT US”, in support of the group’s fight against the Singapore government.

At about 3am on Nov 5 last year, they are said to have bought spray paint from Mustafa Centre. As Qamarul took the can of spray paint, he wrote ‘WE ARE ONE WE ARE LEGION EXPECT US!!’, followed by the ‘TSK’ logo while Danial, Fadzly and Fitri acted as lookouts.

While it was understood that they had no links with any hacking group, they were allegedly behind a rash of vandalism cases that were reported on Nov 5 and 6 at Prinsep Link, Orchard Link, Tampines and Woodlands.

Under the Vandalism Act, first-time offenders face a jail term of up to three years or fined up to S$2,000, as well as between three and eight strokes of the cane.

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