Jail, caning for man who vandalised SMRT pillar with pro-Falungong messages

SINGAPORE - A Chinese national who vandalised the pillar of an MRT viaduct with pro-Falungong messages was sentenced to two months in jail and six strokes of the cane on Tuesday.

Gao Bin, 21, used a black marker to write on the pillar along Geylang East Ave 1: "Fa Lun Da Fa is good. Chinese communist party is going to fall, faster leave the party, to save yourselves".

The message, written in Chinese on Aug 21 last year, included what appeared to be a mobile phone number. It cost rail operator SMRT $300 to repair the damage caused.

Gao's sentence also includes punishment for a similar offence committed a week later, this time on a control box along Lorong 22 Geylang that belonged to the Land Transport Authority.

For both instances, Gao told police he had wanted to "create awareness" among his countrymen through the writings.

Four other counts of vandalism that month, also with Chinese writing, were taken into consideration.

In two of these, Gao targeted electrical grid boxes belonging to Singapore Power along Purvis Street. He also vandalised a concrete pillar that belonged to SingTel, and one other SMRT pillar.

It is understood that Gao studies English in a private school here, while his parents are back in China.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Shi told the court that Gao's actions caused $728.11 of damage.

When asked by District Judge Toh Yung Cheong, Gao said he could not afford to pay for the damage. The judge did not order him to make compensation in light of this.

For each count of vandalism, Gao could have been jailed for up to three years or fined up to $2,000, and given between three and eight strokes of the cane.