Cenotaph vandal gets 3 months’ jail, 3 strokes

Published: 9:30 PM, August 26, 2013
Updated: 6:50 PM, August 27, 2013

SINGAPORE — A security officer who vandalised the Cenotaph War Monument was sentenced to three months’ jail and three strokes of the cane today (Aug 26).

Mohamad Khalid Mohamad Yusop, 33, was also made to pay S$208 to the state for the cost of repair.

He had used a can of red spray paint to write an “X” followed by the word “Democracy” on the monument on 23 April night.

In sentencing, District Judge Lim Tse Haw described the act as “highly anti-social” and “very selfish”.

Citing the case of Oliver Fricker, the foreigner who vandalised two SMRT train carriages, the judge said Singapore’s strict laws against vandalism are largely responsible for a clean and graffiti-free environment here.

While the judge noted that the cost of repair was higher in the Fricker case at about S$11,000, compared with the S$208 in the Cenotaph case, he said the key aggravating factor is the significance of the public property that was vandalised.

Built in 1922, the Cenotaph monument is dedicated to the memory of 124 British soldiers born or resident in Singapore who died in World War I. It was later also dedicated to the memory of those who died in World War II.

“These soldiers sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the peace that we have today,” the judge told Mohamad Khalid. “By your actions, you have shown great disrespect to the memory of our war dead and hurt the feelings of their descendants.”

The judge noted that Mohamad Khalid had a low level of premeditation.

He also took into account the fact that Mohamad Khalid had apologised and sought the forgiveness of all Singaporeans for his unthinking action.

Still, the judge said the monument is in a public place and a deterrent sentence is warranted.

Mohamad Khalid could have been fined up to S$2,000 or jailed up to three years and caned between three and eight strokes. CHANNEL NEWSASIA