Former foodpanda deliveryman jailed for inciting violence after LTA banned e-scooters on footpaths

Former foodpanda deliveryman jailed for inciting violence after LTA banned e-scooters on footpaths

A Foodpanda rider on an e-scooter.
A foodpanda rider on an e-scooter. (File photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: After the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced a ban on electric scooters on footpaths, a foodpanda deliveryman sent a message to a chat group calling for a riot.

Benny Mok Swee Tian, 35, was given eight weeks' jail and a fine of S$500 on Friday (Oct 30) after pleading guilty to a charge each of communicating an incitement to violence and theft.

Mok was a food deliveryman at the time of the crime and was in two chat groups for foodpanda riders on Telegram, with more than 6,000 members altogether in both chats.

On Dec 30 last year, Mok sent a message to one of the chats with several typographical errors, asking for a "PMD riot" the next night and asking people to meet at 9pm at Punggol Park.

He later sent another message to the other chat group, saying: "Ya. Bring parang. See ppl just bang and slice ppl. Swee bo?"

The messages were sent a day before the end of the advisory period for e-scooter users to adjust to the footpath ban. 

READ: E-scooters to be banned from Singapore's footpaths starting Nov 5

A person in both chat groups saw Mok's messages and lodged a police report as he was worried about potential violence. 

Mok was arrested and he admitted to sending the messages while he was at Hougang Mall.

Police resources were dispatched to Punggol Park on Dec 31 last year, but no violent incidents took place.

Mok also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of stealing five comic books worth S$36.87 from Kinokuniya in August last year.

The prosecution sought at least two months' jail, while the defence asked for a lower prison term, saying his client was fairly new to the Telegram group and did not have a high level of influence there.

READ: Government's main priority is to return safety to pedestrians on footpaths: Lam Pin Min

The comments he made would have little weight, said the lawyer, adding that many other members were making "frivolous comments without taking responsibility for them".

For communicating an incitement to violence, Mok could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, or both. For theft, he could have been jailed for up to three years, fined, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(gs)

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