Recalcitrant offender jailed for scratching neighbours' cars with bottle cap, causing S$11,000 in damage
SINGAPORE: After being released from jail for scratching cars, a man went back to his old ways and scratched even more vehicles, costing the owners about S$11,000.
For three charges of mischief causing damage of S$500 and above, with another four charges taken into consideration, 67-year-old Ee Tian Chon was sentenced to five weeks' jail on Tuesday (Feb 4).
Ee had used a beer bottle cap to scratch seven cars parked near his home in Tampines in less than a month between October and November last year.
The court heard that he committed the first offence on Oct 22 at Block 218, Tampines Street 24.
The car owner found a 10cm scratch mark on the rear of the car, along with another mark stretching from the front to the back.
She parked her car at a different place, a few blocks away, weeks later.
However, her husband found a scratch mark on the right side of the car stretching to the rear passenger door to the front headlight of the car on the morning of Nov 14, 2019.
The owners spent S$2,568 in total to repair the car on both occasions.
Ee also targeted other car owners, using a beer bottle cap to scratch a parked vehicle in Tampines, leaving a mark from the front to the rear tyre on Oct 26, 2019.
Another man returned to his car on Nov 13, 2019, to find a scratch stretching from the bonnet to the rear.
Other than these occasions, Ee also cost other car owners repairs of between S$400 and S$3,612.50 for the scratches he left on their vehicles.
He carried out the acts, which he pleaded guilty to, along Tampines Streets 23 and 24.
HE HAS NOT BEEN DETERRED AT ALL BY PRISON STINT: PROSECUTOR
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang sought five weeks' jail for Ee, noting that he had been jailed for identical offences in 2018 and has not made any restitution.
"He has not been deterred at all by his stint in prison. He has come out and he has reoffended, he has done even more damage," said Mr Pang.
The judge had previously called for reports assessing Ee's suitability for a mandatory treatment order, day reporting order and community service order.
The prosecutor noted that the community court counsellor had found that Ee "did not express remorse over his actions", and claimed "he did not know why he did what he did".
Past attempts to engage him in counselling have been futile, said the man's son.
The mandatory treatment order report found that Ee had no mental issues, but Mr Pang said Ee was assessed to display "thinking supportive of crime".
He said Ee rationalised that he would think about scratching a car when walking through a car park, and that it was a way for him to relieve his stress.
Ee's son said the family would advise Ee to curb his drinking, but this was to no avail, said the prosecutor.
"The signal to the accused cannot be that you go out there after your prison stint, you commit more offences, do more damage, show no sign of remorse, but your actions will not be met with commensurate punishment," he added.
He said Ee has to learn from his time in prison "that he cannot continue committing these offences on unsuspecting neighbours".
Ee said he had nothing to say in mitigation, but later told the judge he was willing to go for counselling.
After he was sentenced, he asked the judge: "Can you give me a chance? I will change."
She replied: "If you want to change, go for counselling."
For each charge of mischief causing damages of S$500 and above, Ee could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, or both.