Cenotaph vandal gets three months and three strokes of the cane

Security guard Mohamad Khalid Mohamad Yusop, was sentence 3 months' jail and 3 strokes of the can for vandalism on Aug 12, 2013. He had earlier spray-painted "democracy" and a big "X" in red on The Cenotaph war memorial in April. -- ST PHOTO: WO
Security guard Mohamad Khalid Mohamad Yusop, was sentence 3 months' jail and 3 strokes of the can for vandalism on Aug 12, 2013. He had earlier spray-painted "democracy" and a big "X" in red on The Cenotaph war memorial in April. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A security guard who vandalised the Cenotaph War Monument was sentenced to three months' jail and three strokes of the cane on Monday.

Mohamad Khalid Mohamad Yusop, 33, was also ordered to pay $208 compensation to the State for the cost of repair.

He had admitted to committing the offence at the Esplanade Park at Connaught Drive at about 11.10pm on April 23. Using a can of spray paint, he wrote the word "DEMOCRACY'" and marked an "X" on the monument.

District Judge Lim Tse Haw said what he had done was a serious criminal offence. It was also a highly anti-social and selfish act, he added. "Just because you felt stressed over your family and financial circumstances, you decided to vandalise the Cenotaph War Monument, a national monument,'' he said.

The prosecution had earlier pressed for a 10 to 12-week jail term and the mandatory three strokes of the cane, saying the property vandalised was a national monument, and the offence was pre-meditated.

The defence, however, asked for not more than 10 weeks as Khalid was deeply remorseful and there was also relatively low degree of pre-meditation.

The Cenotaph was built in 1922 in memory of 124 men from Singapore who died in World War I and later dedicated to the memory of those who died in World War II.

"These soldiers sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the peace that we have today," said the judge. "By your action, you have shown great disrespect to the memory of our war dead and hurt the feelings of their descendants. Your action had also caused outrage among all right thinking Singaporeans."

A deterrent sentence was needed to stop like-minded offenders from desecrating Singapore's national monuments. Khalid could have been jailed for up to three years and eight strokes of the cane.