Man admits to throwing Molotov cocktail at ex-wife's house

Ismail Didih Ibrahim is now out on bail of $20,000 and will be sentenced on June 21, 2021.
Ismail Didih Ibrahim is now out on bail of $20,000 and will be sentenced on June 21, 2021.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Bent on revenge, a man threw a bottle of flammable liquid with a burning cloth wick at his former wife's house in May last year, damaging the landed property.

Restaurant manager Ismail Didih Ibrahim, now 36, also sprayed "O$P$" (owe money, pay money) on the property even though her family had not borrowed from a loan shark.

As a result, police officers handling the case initially thought that the offences were committed by an illegal moneylender.

Nobody was physically injured in the Molotov cocktail attack but Ismail's former wife was left so traumatised that the 32-year-old had to attend counselling sessions.

Her family also spent about $600 to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras around their Telok Kurau house as they did not feel safe following the incident.

Ismail pleaded guilty on Monday (April 26) to committing an act of mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage, and an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

A search of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority's database shows that Ismail is a shareholder of the family-owned and popular Hjh Maimunah Catering.

Court documents state that he was working as a manager for his parents' restaurant at the time of the offences.

The Singaporean couple had tied the knot in 2017 but were divorced two years later.

Unhappy with his former wife, Ismail drove to her house during the circuit breaker period on May 12, 2020, armed with items including a half-filled bottle of thinner and a spray can of black paint.

He also took along a raincoat to disguise himself that evening.

Singapore had imposed the circuit breaker between April 7 and June 1 last year to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En told the court: "(Ismail) was seen on CCTV footage going to the boot of his car and preparing a Molotov cocktail by pouring repeatedly the paint thinner into (an) empty bottle and stuffing rags on the top.

"At times, he would glance around the mostly deserted street to see if anyone was watching him. After about five minutes of preparation, the accused then walked over to the victim's house... wearing the raincoat."

After spraying "O$P$", Ismail flung the lit Molotov cocktail at his former wife's home, causing a fire when the bottle shattered. He then left the scene.

The woman and her family members were not aware of the incident at first as they were on an upper floor.

One of their neighbours, however, spotted the blaze and put out the fire with her own family members.

They then alerted the victim's family, which called the police.

DPP Chong said that the fire caused about $6,000 in damage to items such as some walls and pillars.

Ismail has since made voluntary restitution of $5,000 to his former wife and donated $3,000 to three charities of her choice.

He is now out on bail of $20,000 and will be sentenced on June 21.

For committing mischief by fire, an offender can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.