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Man jailed for starting fires near SMRT train tracks in Ang Mo Kio

Man jailed for starting fires near SMRT train tracks in Ang Mo Kio

Screengrab from Google Street View of fencing around the train tracks near Block 510, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8.

SINGAPORE: A man who started fires near SMRT train tracks in Ang Mo Kio was sentenced to 13 weeks' jail on Wednesday (May 29).

Lim Teck Chye, a 49-year-old stall helper, walked near Block 510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 at 2.20am on Feb 17 this year carrying three lighters, the court heard. 

He reached the fencing that had been put up along the perimeter of the train tracks and lit one of his lighters for reasons undisclosed, before throwing it on the ground near the grass patch. 

He then repeated his actions with a second lighter. 

Lim watched the small patches of fire burn before walking away towards Block 711 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8.

Afterwards, a passer-by spotted the fire near the MRT station and noticed it was spreading into the protected area and growing bigger. 

He called the police as he was worried that the flames would spread to other buildings and Singapore Civil Defence Force officers were deployed to extinguish the fire. 

The fire damaged the fencing and cost SMRT S$382 to repair, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao.

Lim pleaded guilty to one charge of committing mischief by fire.

The prosecution asked for at least four months' jail, saying Lim had started a fire near a key location and that the flames had spread.

Lim's lawyer Henry Lim asked instead for three months' jail, saying his client "is deeply remorseful" and "knows what he did was wrong".

"After the incident, he has not touched any lighters and has not done anything similar," said the lawyer.

District Judge Ng Peng Hong said a compensation order must be made for Lim to repay SMRT for the damages, but Lim's lawyer said his client did not have the means to pay.

The judge took Lim's two-week remand at the Institute of Mental Health into consideration when sentencing him.

For mischief by fire, Lim could have been sentenced to a maximum of seven years' jail and a fine.

Source: CNA/ll(hs)

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