Man gets 3 weeks' jail over ball bearings shot near bridal party

Above: Samuel Tan Joo Soon will begin serving his sentence on Sept 23. Left: On July 1, 2017, two men from a bridal party noticed, after they heard what sounded like shots being fired, that a white Subaru Impreza and a silver Mazda (left) were dented
On July 1, 2017, two men from a bridal party noticed, after they heard what sounded like shots being fired, that a white Subaru Impreza and a silver Mazda (above) were dented, and there were holes on their rear windscreens.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Above: Samuel Tan Joo Soon will begin serving his sentence on Sept 23. Left: On July 1, 2017, two men from a bridal party noticed, after they heard what sounded like shots being fired, that a white Subaru Impreza and a silver Mazda (left) were dented
Above: Samuel Tan Joo Soon will begin serving his sentence on Sept 23. PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A projectile analysis with the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) helped the police track down the person responsible for firing ball bearings near a bridal party which damaged two cars.

The HSA was roped in after a futile search by the police to track down the shooter.

About two weeks after the incident on July 1, 2017, the police had their man - Samuel Tan Joo Soon.

The 53-year-old Singaporean was yesterday sentenced to three weeks' jail after pleading guilty to one count of committing a rash act.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En related details of the investigation and the events that unfolded that day.

He said members of a bridal party were playing "gatecrashing" games at the void deck of Block 762, Woodlands Avenue 6 when they heard what sounded like shots being fired.

"During the gatecrashing games, the groomsmen and bridesmaids laughed and cheered loudly which generated substantial noise... At or about 7.15am, some of the bridesmaids heard a few very loud 'bang' sounds whilst still at the void deck of Block 762 but were unable to determine the source of the noises."

About 15 minutes later, two men from the bridal party noticed that a white Subaru Impreza and a silver Mazda were dented, and there were holes on their rear windscreens.

The other three cars in their entourage were not damaged.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.

One of them alerted the police and officers later found 12 metal ball bearings at the scene.

On July 18, 2017, police searched Tan's fifth-storey unit at the nearby Block 764A and found two packets of metal ball bearings as well as a wooden catapult with an elastic band.

He had shot the ball bearings from his daughter's bedroom window.

Tan, who is jobless, told police he was not irritated by the bridal party and had not targeted them, but was shooting at pigeons to scare the birds.

DPP Chong said Tan bought the wooden catapult in 2008 and used it to shoot stones at birds. But he realised catapults were illegal in Singapore when he watched some videos on YouTube.

Despite this, he did not throw it away and instead, went online in 2017 to purchase two packets of ball bearings for $14.

Tan had said he spotted some pigeons on a ledge at nearby Block 765 on July 1, 2017, and fired the ball bearings at the birds even though he was aware of the bridal party at the ground floor.

Tan's bail was set at $5,000 yesterday and he will surrender himself on Sept 23 to begin serving his sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2020, with the headline 'Man gets 3 weeks' jail over ball bearings shot near bridal party'. Print Edition | Subscribe