Police officer accused of damaging 'Parrot Man's' walking stick and then lying about it

Seah Chin Peng (above) is now on trial after he was charged with committing mischief by intentionally damaging the walking stick belonging to Mr Zeng Guoyuan, who is better known as "Parrot Man". ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A police senior staff sergeant who arrested former businessman Zeng Guoyuan in 2016 was seen on video deliberately stepping on the man's walking stick, damaging it.

A district court heard on Friday (Oct 19) that Seah Chin Peng later lied to his superior, claiming that he had lost his balance and stepped on the walking stick, causing it to break.

Seah, 47, who was suspended in October last year, is now on trial after he was charged with committing mischief by intentionally damaging the walking stick belonging to Mr Zeng, who is better known as "Parrot Man". Seah is also accused of two counts of giving false information to Inspector Paige Tan.

Mr Zeng, who was diagnosed with nose cancer in 2014, has made several unsuccessful bids to stand in elections. He tried to do so in the 2011 General Election and presidential election, as well as the Hougang and Punggol East by-elections in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

The court heard that at around 10.30am on Oct 31, 2016, Seah and a female colleague, Sergeant Durganivashini Yogendran, were deployed to Waterloo Street to attend to a nuisance case involving Mr Zeng.

A video taken from the policewoman's bodycam was played in court on Friday and it showed him sitting in a wheelchair while exchanging words in Mandarin with Seah.

In a statement read out in court, she said: "At one point, Senior Staff Sgt Seah took Zeng Guoyuan's walking stick and stepped on it hard."

The video then showed Seah wheeling Mr Zeng away and the court was told that he was taken to Police Cantonment Complex.

When examined by Deputy Public Prosecutor Peggy Pao, Sgt Durganivashini said that officers are not supposed to damage items that belong to others and that they have to "handle everyone's property with care".

Insp Tan, who also testified in court, said in her statement that Seah called later in the day on Oct 31, 2016, to tell her that he had accidentally damaged the walking stick. On Nov 3 that year, she realised that the stick was not in police custody.

Insp Tan said that she then contacted Seah, who told her that members of the public had thrown it away. But another footage shot in Waterloo Street during the incident showed a different story, the court heard.

In the video clip that was also played in court, Seah was seen taking the walking stick from another policeman before placing it in a patrol car.

On Friday, Seah, who is represented by lawyer Sofia Bakhash, testified that he has issues with his memory after suffering a stroke in February 2016. He told District Judge Brenda Tan: "Why I stepped on the walking stick, I don't know the cause... I can't elaborate more on why I spoilt (it)."

Seah will be back in court on Oct 22. The court heard that no further action was taken against Mr Zeng for the incident that took place on Oct 31, 2016.

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