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Man admits placing toy grenade at MRT station exit in bid to force Hong Lim Park protesters to leave

SINGAPORE — When about 800 people turned up at a protest at Hong Lim Park in 2017, Ho Hee Hew disagreed with their intentions and tried to make them leave by placing a toy grenade attached to a bag, placed at an exit to nearby Clarke Quay MRT Station.

Man admits placing toy grenade at MRT station exit in bid to force Hong Lim Park protesters to leave

The prosecution is seeking the maximum S$5,000 fine for Ho Hee Hew, 59, who admitted he left a toy grenade near Hong Lim Park in September 2017 to try to force a group of protesters (pictured) to leave the area.

SINGAPORE — When about 800 people turned up at a protest at Hong Lim Park in 2017, Ho Hee Hew disagreed with their intentions and tried to make them leave by placing a toy grenade attached to a bag, placed at an exit to nearby Clarke Quay MRT Station.

On Friday (Sept 6), the 59-year-old driver pleaded guilty to one charge of causing alarm under the Protection from Harassment Act.

He will return to court to be sentenced on Oct 1. The prosecution is seeking a S$5,000 fine, which is the maximum punishment for the offence.

Ho was at first charged under the United Nations Act with intending to induce a false belief in people that the toy grenade was likely to explode and cause personal injury or damage to property.

That offence carries far more severe penalties of up to 10 years’ jail, or a fine of up to S$500,000, or both.

However, the charge against Ho was then amended to the one he faced in court on Friday.

‘DISAGREED WITH PROTESTERS’

The court heard that the incident happened on Sept 16, 2017.

That afternoon, among those who turned up for a protest against the reserved Presidential Election were former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock, Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan and blogger Han Hui Hui.

At the time of the protest, the Presidential Election had recently concluded, with Madam Halimah Yacob winning in a walkover. Parliament had recently enacted changes to the Presidential Election, which meant that the 2017 election was reserved for the Malay community.

At about 4.30pm, Ho was cycling past Exit A of Clarke Quay MRT Station — the closest exit to Hong Lim Park — when he stopped to go through a bag he had earlier found elsewhere. Court documents did not elaborate on the origin of the bag.

It contained a plastic box filled with old toys. A toy grenade was also attached to the bag, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Thiagesh Sukumaran told the court.

After removing some of the items, he looked around to check if anyone was looking at him, then threw the bag near the wheelchair ramp leading to Exit A.

Closed-circuit television captured his actions on video. He then left.

Once the alert was raised, the exit was closed for about 15 minutes as police officers from the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) unit checked out the bag. They found that it did not pose a public safety threat. The bag did not cause any disturbance to the protesters, a court document stated.

Ho was later arrested, and he told the police that he disagreed with the protesters’ intentions and left the bag there to force them to leave.

Ho’s lawyer argued for a fine of S$1,500, saying that his actions had caused minimal disruption and the fine would “suffice to deter him from committing such a foolish act again”.


In arguing for the maximum S$5,000 fine, DPP Thiagesh said that Ho had caused a high level of potential harm.

“We also have to look at the accused’s intentions… if there was public alarm caused, it would cause mass panic among the protesters. That escalates the intention in this particular case,” he added.

Related topics

Clarke Quay toy grenade MRT station court crime Hong Lim Park

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