Toothpicks in bus seats: Man fined $3,600

A 60-year-old landscape technician who perforated bus seats with three toothpicks on each of four occasions was fined a total of $3,600 yesterday.

Lim Lye Seng was also ordered to pay compensation of $325.91 for the damage caused. If he cannot pay the fine, he will serve eight days' jail in default.

He had admitted to two counts of mischief on board SBS Transit (SBST) service 123M on July 22 and Aug 4, with two other similar charges taken into consideration during sentencing.

District Judge Lim Keng Yeow told Lim that he wanted to make it very clear that although he was not imposing a jail sentence, it was not because his actions were acceptable and excusable.

"No one should be excused for doing these things, especially not someone like you, a 60-year-old."

The court heard that Lim took three toothpicks from a coffee shop opposite Tiong Bahru MRT station before boarding the bus at about 6.20am on Aug 4. He perforated the seat next to his and placed the toothpicks into the seat, with the sharp ends pointing upwards.

The driver found the toothpicks on the bus during a check at HarbourFront bus interchange and informed an SBST operations officer, who then alerted the police.

During investigation, Lim admitted to doing the same thing on three separate occasions in July.

On July 22, he was on board the bus on his way to work when he perforated the seat next to him.

"The accused admitted to committing the offences because he was bored and he wanted to play a prank on others. He further admitted that he was aware that his actions could have caused hurt to passengers on board SBST bus 123M," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Rimplejit Kaur.

Lim, who is married with two children, could have been jailed for up to a year and/or fined on each of the two charges.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2017, with the headline 'Toothpicks in bus seats: Man fined $3,600'. Print Edition | Subscribe