SINGAPORE: An elderly woman who saw that someone had pushed her rubbish bins away from her home during Chinese New Year thought that a visitor had done this and used her house key to scratch the victim's Audi A4.
The repairs and cost of temporarily renting another car cost the vehicle owner nearly S$15,000. The accused, 76-year-old Ang Guat Beng, was fined S$7,500 on Monday (Sep 14) for mischief.
Ang pleaded guilty to one count of mischief by scratching both sides of the victim's car with a key on the night of Jan 26 this year, along a road in Serangoon Gardens.
The court heard that the victim and her husband drove to their friend's place near Ang's home for Chinese New Year celebrations that evening. The exact locations were redacted from court documents.
She parked her car in front of Ang's home. When Ang returned home from a walk, she saw that the bins which were usually outside her home were nowhere to be found, said her lawyer Adrian Wee of Characterist LLC.
She did not recognise the Audi A4 parked in front of her house, and eventually found her bins 20m to 30m away, about four or five houses down.
She had to push the bins back, "no easy task for a 76-year-old", said Mr Wee, and grew angry and frustrated. She was also unhappy with people who had parked their cars opposite her home.
She assumed that the victim had been responsible for pushing the bins away and used her house key to scratch the car.
Ang left scratch marks down the entire lengths of both sides of the Audi with her key, said the prosecutor.
When the victim returned to her vehicle, she saw the scratches and filed a police report before sending her car for extensive repairs.
The total cost of damages, inclusive of the costs for renting an identical vehicle while the original car was being repaired, amounted to S$14,752.20.
Ang initially refused to compensate the victim, but repaid the full amount last month.
The prosecutor asked for a fine of at least S$8,000, saying that Ang's offence was "entirely unprovoked".
He also said that little weight should be given to her plea of guilt, as the incident was clearly captured by in-car camera footage.
Mr Wee had asked for a fine of S$5,000, saying that Ang has made full restitution and "regrets her actions entirely".
"Our client's actions were committed in the spur of the moment and were not the result of a considered decision," he said.
For mischief, Ang could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, or both.