$1,000 fine for man who destroyed election poster
In the first case of its kind, a part-time security officer was fined $1,000 yesterday for destroying an election poster.
Lim Song Huat, 48, had earlier pleaded guilty to an offence under the Parliamentary Elections Act. Two other similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
The incident occurred last year at around 9.30am on July 3, a week before Singapore held its general election.
The Singaporean was walking along Woodlands Street 13, where he lives, when he spotted People's Action Party (PAP) posters on lamp posts there.
Lim went towards one which had Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's image and tried but failed to rip it with a stone.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Selene Yap said: "He then discarded the stone and used his hands to forcibly peel (the poster) from its backing, causing more than half the poster to be detached from its backing."
The police were alerted the next day and officers from Woodlands Police Division Headquarters arrested him at around 6.30pm that day.
Yesterday, DPP Yap urged District Judge Marvin Bay to sentence Lim to the maximum fine of $1,000, stressing that such offences were difficult to detect.
She told the court that Lim was found only after "extensive trawling" of closed-circuit television images.
Lim, who was unrepresented, told Judge Bay he was not against the PAP and that he had done a "stupid thing".
Before sentencing him, the judge said the courts must send a "clear and unequivocal message" that the damage, destruction and defacing of posters is "utterly unacceptable".
He added: "While a person may hold strong political views, these should be expressed by their vote at the ballot box or by other legally sanctioned means."
In an unrelated incident, another Singaporean man - Constantine Paul, 51 - is accused of removing two Progress Singapore Party posters from lamp posts in Bukit Batok East Avenue 5 at around 8pm on June 30 last year.
Paul, who also faces charges under the Act, is expected to plead guilty on April 5.