Man who chopped down town council's papaya tree and threatened cat feeder gets jail

Man who chopped down town council's papaya tree and threatened cat feeder gets jail

Papaya tree
A papaya tree. (File photo: Kurt Ganapathy)

SINGAPORE: A man who chopped down a papaya tree belonging to a town council and waved the weapon at a nearby cat feeder was given three weeks' jail on Friday (May 7).

Ang Say Chee, 60, pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal intimidation by raising a chopper at the cat feeder.

Another two charges were taken into consideration: Chopping down half a papaya tree belonging to the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council and causing wrongful loss to the public in an act of mischief; and burning a red cloth in a rash act endangering personal safety.

The court heard that Ang lived in a flat at Toa Payoh Lorong 4. At about 2.30pm on Aug 6, 2019, he placed a chopper in a plastic bag and went to the void deck of Block 56, which was near his home.

He hacked down a large papaya tree there as he believed the tree was possessed by evil spirits.

A 70-year-old woman who was nearby and about to feed a stray cat heard the tree falling. She saw Ang walking away from the tree and towards the cat she was about to feed.

When Ang saw her, he tried to snatch a container of cat biscuits that she was holding, and it fell from her hands. He said "dirty dirty" and told her he wanted to call the police, and she replied that she would wait for the officers to arrive.

Ang took out the chopper from his plastic bag and raised it above his head. He pointed the weapon at the victim's head and told her he was unhappy that she was feeding the neighbourhood cats.

The victim called the police for help and retreated, hiding behind a pillar while Ang sat on a stone bench and later threw the chopper away. The weapon was not recovered.

The police arrested Ang when they arrived.

The prosecutor asked for at least three weeks' jail, noting that Ang had used a chopper with the intent to cause alarm, but that there was no overt threat. He also did not pursue the victim, but discarded the weapon.

However, Ang has a string of past convictions from 1979 for crimes ranging from housebreaking, taking an intoxicant into a public hospital, mischief, affray, rape and rash acts endangering life or safety.

For criminal intimidation, he could have been jailed up to two years, fined, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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