Cleaner fined $4,500 for causing alarm with toy grenade at Istana Park
A cleaner at Istana Park caused a lockdown of Penang Lane in 2017 after positioning a toy grenade near a fire hydrant along the road.
Elankovan Marimuthu, 59, was fined $4,500 yesterday for using threatening behaviour to cause alarm.
On Nov 3, 2017, at about 7am, he was cleaning Istana Park when he came across a toy grenade near a fire hydrant.
It was not revealed in court documents how the toy ended up there.
Elankovan found the toy lying on its side, but positioned it upright using a pair of tongs as he wanted to see how the public would react once it was discovered.
He then left the scene.
At about 2.05pm, two motorists at the junction of Penang Lane and Orchard Road noticed the toy grenade and called the police.
When they arrived, they immediately commenced a lockdown. Penang Lane was partially cordoned off to traffic for 45 minutes and fully closed for 30 minutes.
The court was told that a lot of resources were deployed to ascertain if the item was a threat to public safety.
They included 39 officers from various units of the Singapore Police Force and eight personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces' Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosive Defence Group.
Police officers also conducted sweeps of the surrounding areas such as Dhoby Ghaut MRT, and advisories were sent out for the public to stay clear of the area.
The police hotline received numerous phone calls complaining of the traffic congestion.
Penang Lane was re-opened only at about 5pm after it had been confirmed the item was a toy.
Elankovan was found at Istana Park the next morning and admitted he positioned the toy in an upright manner.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran yesterday asked for a fine of $4,500 to be given as there was a waste of public resources.
Defence lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said his client was not highly educated.
Speaking through an interpreter, Elankovan asked the court for forgiveness.
During sentencing, District Judge May Mesenas said she hoped he had learnt his lesson.
For committing the offence under the Protection from Harassment Act, Elankovan could have been fined up to $5,000.
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