Man jailed 20 weeks for mischief and assaulting woman

An unemployed man was at the State Courts' pre-trial conference (PTC) centre in July when he used a red marker pen to write secret society slogans on the wall and wooden door of a room.

A month earlier, Ho Bak Choon committed a similar offence by writing secret society names in Chinese on a bridge along a park connector and a PUB sign next to the bridge. He also crossed out the word "CALL'' on the sign and wrote "F***'' over it, so that the words read as "1800-F***-PUB'' .

Two other mischief charges involving a church and a condominium were among three charges considered in his sentencing.

Yesterday, the 52-year-old was sentenced to 20 weeks' jail after he pleaded guilty to two mischief charges and to assaulting a woman.

The court heard that Ms Chiang Chong Kwee, 41, whose occupation was not stated, and her colleague were on their way to lunch when they walked past Ho, who was seated on a bicycle along a footpath near Block 53 Sims Place on Dec 4 last year.

Ho, who intended to ride his bicycle along the footpath, became upset that the women were in his way. He shouted vulgarities in Hokkien at Ms Chiang, who turned around and asked what he wanted.

Ho charged at her, slapped her face two to three times, pulled her hair, and slammed her head against the side of a stationary lorry. Ms Chiang fell and was attacked by Ho until he was restrained by passers-by. Ms Chiang suffered minor injuries.

Ho was also charged on May 31 with abusing a public servant.

He attended two pre-trial conferences for the two charges, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on July 19, when he failed to show up for a third PTC.

The next day, just before 1pm, Ho went to the State Courts' PTC centre. He sat alone in the waiting area which was dark because the lights were off during lunchtime.

He later entered a video link room and defaced public property because he was "bored".

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Ee Kuan said Ho also smoked a cigarette in the room. He left at 1.16pm. An executive noticed the graffiti on the wall and door and informed the security staff. Ho returned at 5.45pm and was arrested.

Investigations showed that he also wrote secret society names in blue ink on the bridge along the park connector near Block 144 Potong Pasir on June 21. Ho has previous convictions for causing hurt with a dangerous weapon, using criminal force on a public servant, affray and loan-shark harassment.

He could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined for each count of mischief. For causing hurt, the maximum penalty is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2016, with the headline 'Man jailed 20 weeks for mischief and assaulting woman'. Print Edition | Subscribe