Toothpicks in bus seat: Man charged with mischief

Lim Lye Seng is accused of sticking toothpicks in a bus seat on four separate occasions while on board SBS Transit service 123M.
Lim Lye Seng is accused of sticking toothpicks in a bus seat on four separate occasions while on board SBS Transit service 123M.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

While riding in a public bus, a man allegedly stuck toothpicks in a seat, with the sharp ends pointing upwards, on four separate occasions.

Yesterday, Lim Lye Seng, 60, was charged in court with four counts of mischief.

He is accused of committing the offences on board SBS Transit bus service number 123M as it was travelling along Lower Delta Road between July and last month, causing damage totalling $1,303.64.

Lim is believed to have perforated a seat with three toothpicks on each of the four occasions.

He is said to have caused damage worth $325.91 to each seat.

Lim, who was unrepresented, told the court that he intended to plead guilty to the offences.

He also told District Judge Adam Nakhoda that he wanted to engage a lawyer.

He will be back in court next Wednesday.

The case first came to light when pictures of three toothpicks sticking out of a red bus seat made their rounds on social media in late July.

A Facebook user known as Shervella Wong had uploaded a post on her personal page, saying that she found toothpicks sticking out of a bus seat on the morning of July 22.

She had said: "Thank god I did check (my seat) before I sat down.

"Why would people actually do that to the seat and let other people's (buttocks) get poked?"

The police said in a statement last month that they received a report about the incident on Aug 4.

Officers from the Public Transport Security Command and the Clementi Police Division conducted extensive investigations and referred to closed-circuit television footage, which helped identify the suspect.

If convicted of mischief, Lim can be jailed for up to a year and fined for each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2017, with the headline 'Toothpicks in bus seat: Man charged with mischief'. Print Edition | Subscribe