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Arrest warrant issued for teen accused of backflipping in rhino enclosure after he fails to wake up for court

Arrest warrant issued for teen accused of backflipping in rhino enclosure after he fails to wake up for court

Ralph Wee arrives at the State Courts on Jul 12, 2021. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: A warrant of arrest has been issued for a teenager who faces several charges, including trespassing into the Singapore Zoo rhino enclosure to perform a backflip as well as killing a frog at a Sentosa Cove property, after he failed to turn up for a court hearing on Friday (Nov 5).

His parents were unable to wake him up, his lawyer from Withers KhattarWong told the court, urging the judge to issue an arrest warrant so police officers could lend their aid.

Ralph Wee Yi Kai, 19, was originally charged in July with four charges of mischief, criminal trespass and vandalism.

These were for trespassing into the white rhino enclosure at the zoo on Dec 17, 2020, hitting the side mirrors of a Mercedes-Benz and BMW car in October 2020 and hitting the information panel of a bus stop.

Screengrabs of a TikTok video showing a man doing a backflip in the Singapore Zoo's white rhino enclosure.

Wee was later given more charges for causing unnecessary pain and suffering to a live frog at a Sentosa Cove home on Christmas Eve in 2020. The frog died after Wee hit it with a ball on a foosball table. Wee was also charged with consuming a cannabinol derivative around Aug 6, 2021.

Wee was set to appear before a district court for a bail review on Friday afternoon.

He was out on bail of S$20,000, but the prosecution had called for an urgent bail review hearing as they sought to have his bail revoked for alleged fresh offences.

Wee's lawyer Shashi Nathan told the court that his client was not there. He said that Wee "has had difficulty waking up" and has been sleeping long hours.

"Even last night, his father and mother reminded him there was a bail review today," said Mr Nathan, adding that they tried to rouse Wee this morning to no avail.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Melissa Lee told the judge that she was seeking to revoke Wee's bail.

The lead investigation officer had told her that Wee reoffended while on bail, with potentially four new sets of offences, she said. One of them is for cutting his electronic tag on Oct 26, said Ms Lee.

Wee has also not reported for his urine tests on a few occasions, which in itself is "constant reoffending", she added.

Defence lawyer Mr Nathan said his client was on bail after his initial charging, but "there was difficulty looking after him" and he was later remanded for one month.

After that one month, there was "significant improvement in his behaviour", so the defence called for bail again.

"He has been on bail since. However, in this last period, there's been some breaches. I think the defence, your honour, if the prosecution applies for bail to be revoked, we will not be objecting," said Mr Nathan.

The judge pointed out that Wee will need to be taken into custody.

"I know, it's an odd situation because he's not in court. I ask the court to issue a warrant of arrest," said Mr Nathan. "The parents are unable to wake him up. I may need help from officers to attend."

He added that it was "unlikely that even if we speak to the young man he will voluntarily" turn himself in. 

The judge issued a warrant of arrest. 

Wee is set to plead guilty on Nov 22.

Source: CNA/ll


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