Singapore Boys' Home residents charged with unlawful assembly back in court

The Singapore Boys’ Home and Singapore Boys’ Hostel in Jurong West Street 24.
The Singapore Boys’ Home and Singapore Boys’ Hostel in Jurong West Street 24. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Twelve residents of the Singapore Boys' Home (SBH) who were earlier charged with being part of an unlawful assembly of 26 youths appeared back in the State Courts on Wednesday (Sept 28).

They are accused of being part of an unlawful assembly, whose intention was to commit vandalism by damaging bed frames and smashing fluorescent lamps belonging to the home just before midnight last Tuesday (Sept 20).

SBH is a juvenile residential home in Jurong run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). It houses at-risk young people aged between 12 and 21, who might also have gotten into trouble with the law.

The residents involved are: Muhammad Amiruddin Sabtu, 18; Muhamad Nur Iskandar Shariff, 18; Mohamad Hairy Hassan, 18; Mohammad Rizaifie Mohamad Rizal, 17; Png Yang Kwang, 17; Marche Loke Teck Jun, 17; Muhamed Hafez Fizzly Roslan, 17; Syuaib Shahfudin Mahendran, 16; Mohd Aslam Khan Abdullah, 16; Mohamad Kamal Azaman, 16; Chan Zi Yang, 16; and Praveen Nivash Velmurugan, 16.

District Judge Ronald Gwee granted the police prosecutor's request for the 12 youths, who are currently remanded at Jurong Police Division, to be transferred to Cluster B of Changi Prison Complex, as police investigations are still ongoing.

Praveen's case has been fixed for a pre-trial conference in the Community Court on Oct 3, while the 11 other youths will have their cases mentioned at a pre-trial conference in the same court on Oct 18.

Under the law, an assembly of five or more people is considered unlawful under certain circumstances, such as if the group's intention is to commit a crime.

The maximum penalty for being part of an unlawful assembly is two years' jail and a fine.

On Monday (Sept 26), 14 other youths were charged in the Youth Court for their role in the unlawful assembly. Young offenders who appear before that court cannot be named to protect their identities.

The New Paper reported last Wednesday (Sept 21) that the 26 residents had been unhappy with issues at SBH and created a ruckus by throwing items out of windows, although the reason behind their unhappiness is not known. The police said they got a call about the incident at around midnight and that no one was injured.

A MSF spokesman said: "An incident involving unruly behaviour occurred in the Singapore Boys' Home at 11pm on Sept 19 which required the involvement of the police." He added that MSF had taken steps to ensure the well-being of SBH residents and were assisting the police with investigations.

In 2015, 215 boys were admitted to SBH, which is gazetted as a Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre for youth offenders dealt with by the Youth Court.

It is also designated a Place of Safety for those admitted on a Beyond Parental Control Order, a Child Protection Order, or under the Women's Charter.

According to the MSF's website, residents go through structured routines and programmes for their development, such as academic or vocational training, recreational activities and community service.