SINGAPORE: A teenager who was shown in a TikTok video doing a backflip in the rhinoceros enclosure at the Singapore Zoo last year was charged in court on Monday (Jul 12).
Ralph Wee Yi Kai, 19, was given one charge each of criminal trespass and vandalism, as well as two counts of mischief.
He is accused of trespassing into the white rhinoceros enclosure at the zoo in Mandai at about 2.45pm on Dec 17, 2020.
Wee is also accused of hitting the side mirrors of a Mercedes Benz car and a BMW car, causing damage amounting to S$2,792.70 and S$1669.20 respectively, at about 2.40am at 1 Sixth Crescent on Oct 9, 2020.
At around the same time, he allegedly hit the information panel at a bus stop along Sixth Avenue, causing damages of S$900 to public property under the Land Transport Authority. The court heard that there are pending investigations into an additional charge.
"RECKLESS AND MINDLESS" ACT
The police said on Dec 18 last year that they were investigating the incident after a video was posted on TikTok account ralphwee_, showing a man in a face mask riding a tram.
He is later shown in a white rhino enclosure, with the animals in the background. He then performs a backflip before scaling the fence and leaving.
The clip was captioned "keep your distance" and "who's man is this".
When the video surfaced in December, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) - which manages the zoo as well as the Night Safari, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park - called the incident a "reckless and mindless" act.
The police said on Sunday, more than half a year after the alleged crimes, that Wee had been filmed by his companion, an 18-year-old woman. Police gave a stern warning to her on Monday for abetting criminal trespass, while Wee was charged in court.
Wee's TikTok account was still live on Sunday under the username @rhino_ralph and is linked to his Instagram account with his previous moniker.
His lawyer asked for bail, saying Wee's parents will ensure he comes to court. He was offered bail of S$15,000 and he will return to court next month.
If convicted of criminal trespass, he could be jailed up to three months, fined up to S$1,500, or both. Mischief carries penalties of up to two years' jail, a fine, or both.
If found guilty of vandalism, Wee could be jailed up to three years and fined up to S$2,000. He could also be given between three and eight strokes of the cane.