Two in Toa Payoh vandalism case get probation

(From left) David William Graaskov, Goh Rong Liang, Chay Nam Shen, Boaz Koh Wen Jie, and Reagan Tan Chang Zhi arriving at the States Court on 10 May 2014. Chay and Tan were each given 24 months' probation on Monday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
(From left) David William Graaskov, Goh Rong Liang, Chay Nam Shen, Boaz Koh Wen Jie, and Reagan Tan Chang Zhi arriving at the States Court on 10 May 2014. Chay and Tan were each given 24 months' probation on Monday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

SINGAPORE - Two 18-year-olds who spray-painted graffiti at the rooftop of an Housing Board block in Toa Payoh with their friends in May last year were each given 24 months' probation on Monday.

Chay Nam Shen and Reagan Tan Chang Zhi, both then students of Institute of Technical Education, were part of a group of five who stole four cans of spray paint from a lorry at a carpark in Lorong 5 Toa Payoh on the night of May 6. It was suggested among the group that they should go and "spray'' the rooftop of Block 85A at Lorong 4.

Chay, Tan, Boaz Koh Wen Jie and Goh Rong Liang proceeded to the rooftop close to midnight that day to commit vandalism, while David William Graaskov left them to catch a bus home. The 18-year-old was placed on 15 months' probation in January for theft and criminal trespass. Goh and Koh have pleaded guilty but have not been sentenced.

The court heard that the graffiti, reported by a resident the next day, was splashed across a large flat wall panel on top of Block 85A, and included expletives directed against a local political party.

Investigation showed that except for Goh, the other four had trespassed at the same rooftop sometime between end April and early May last year.

All five had also entered the secured premises of Marina Bay Suites in Marina Boulevard on March 29 the same year.

Chay, Tan, Koh and Graaskov had also climbed over a metal fencing to enter a construction site in Jalan Rajah between October and December 2013.

In passing sentence, Community Court judge Lim Keng Yeow told the duo that vandalism was the the most serious of the offences before him. The offence carries at least three strokes of the cane and normally several months' jail will be imposed.

Criminal trespass offences were also serious, he said.

He accepted the probation officer's recommendation to place the pair on probation. Both teens will have to do 180 hours of community service, stay indoors from 10pm to 6am and electronically tagged for six months.

Chay's parents as well as Tan's mother and half-brother executed an $8,000 bond respectively to ensure their good behaviour.