26-year-old fined for playing with toy gun in public

26-year-old fined for playing with toy gun in public
TODAY file photo
Published: 4:00 AM, March 15, 2017
Updated: 5:12 AM, March 15, 2017

SINGAPORE — On the way home from work, he felt an impulse to fiddle with a toy handgun that he had bought the day before, and proceeded to cock it. Someone nearby saw what Timothy Tan Zhiyu was doing and thinking that the 26-year-old was holding a real handgun, notified the police.

In an effort to trace Tan, an urgent police operation was mounted with close to 50 police officers deployed, comprising those from the Criminal Investigation Department and Special Operations Command.

After establishing his identity through video footage from a closed-circuit television (CCTV), the police arrested Tan and raided his house, seizing a total of 14 replica rifles and two replica handguns.

Yesterday, Tan was convicted and fined S$1,000 after pleading guilty to displaying threatening behaviour which caused alarm to a member of the public.

Court documents showed that on the morning of Sept 23, 2015, Tan — who was then working as a vessel traffic controller at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore — was on the way home after working the night shift.

While walking along Yishun Ring Road towards a car park, he took out the toy handgun from his bag and tucked it into the front of his pants. Playing with it, he removed the handgun and cocked it before putting it back into his pants again.

Tan took the toy gun to work because he wanted to get it spray-painted a different colour at a shop.

During this time, a man who was walking with his wife and daughter saw the toy gun, witnessed Tan’s actions, and heard the sound produced by the cocking motion which is similar to that made by a real handgun. Alarmed by this, the man alerted the police.

Tan was finally arrested after his mother confirmed his identity when showed CCTV footage of him in a lift. Inside the lift, Tan had again cocked the toy gun because he liked the sound and echo effect produced by squeezing the trigger in an enclosed area.

Investigations revealed that Tan bought the toy gun for S$90 from a shop called at the former Funan DigitaLife Mall.

The shop is being investigated for suspected breaches of the Regulation of Imports and Exports Regulations.

Tan also told the police that he bought several plastic toy guns because of his interest in firearms.

He had been engaging in cosplay for several years, and enjoyed dressing up as a Special Weapons and Tactics officer or as a United States Marine.

In court, Tan, who is unemployed, said that he regretted his actions and did not intend to cause any alarm.

For his offence, he could have received a maximum fine of S$5,000. FARIS MOKHTAR