Three teens in Toa Payoh rooftop vandalism case plead guilty

(From left) Reagan Tan Chang Zhi, Chay Nam Shen and Boaz Koh Wen Jie, all 18, were among five hauled to court last year to face charges of theft, criminal trespass and vandalism. -- PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW, THE NEW PAPER
(From left) Reagan Tan Chang Zhi, Chay Nam Shen and Boaz Koh Wen Jie, all 18, were among five hauled to court last year to face charges of theft, criminal trespass and vandalism. -- PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW, THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Three teenagers who vandalised the rooftop of a Toa Payoh Housing Board block pleaded guilty on Wednesday.

Reagan Tan Chang Zhi, Chay Nam Shen and Boaz Koh Wen Jie, all 18, were among five hauled to court last year to face charges of theft, criminal trespass and vandalism.

On Monday, their friend, David William Graaskov, also 18, was given 15 months' probation for theft of four spray paint cans, and trespassing at the rooftop of up market condominium Marina Bay Suites and a construction site in Balestier. He was the first in the group to plead guilty to his charges.

Tan and Chay, who faced 10 charges each, and Koh, who faced 11 charges, each admitted to five charges.

A Community Court heard that the five, including Goh Rong Liang, were hanging out in Toa Payoh on the evening of May 6 last year when they stole the cans of spray worth $12 from a lorry parked at Lorong 5.

The group decided to go to the rooftop of Block 85A Lorong 4 to spray graffiti. Graaskov, however, left to catch the last bus home at close to midnight.

The remaining four went to the roof, and waited for about 10 minutes. Koh stepped out onto the ledge and sprayed the graffiti on the wall, and the others joined in. Koh even sprayed over the same phrase - an expletive directed against the People's Action Party - as he felt that it was not "dark enough".

After that, they took the lift down, and Koh threw the spray cans down a rubbish chute.

The cost for repainting the vandalised walls was $129.

Further investigations showed the teens were also involved in trespassing at Marina Bay Suites on March 29 last year, and the worksite at Jalan Rajah sometime between October and December 2013.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tang Shangjun cited several aggravating factors such as the escalation of the teens' offences, the significant amount of public disquiet caused and the abusive language used.

Koh, the court heard, had committed the offences while on probation for theft and trespass. He was remanded for progress and reformative training reports until Feb 18, while the other two will be back in court on March 2, pending probation reports.

Goh's case will be mentioned on Feb 9.

The maximum penalty for vandalism is a $2,000 fine or three years' jail plus caning of up to eight strokes.

elena@sph.com.sg