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Man jailed 12 weeks for damaging employer's lorry by pouring soil in engine compartment

SINGAPORE — While embroiled in a work-related dispute with his employer, Seeni Paramasivam caused S$25,000 in damages to the company’s lorry by pouring soil into its engine compartment.

Seeni Paramasivam arriving at the State Courts on Feb 18, 2022.

Seeni Paramasivam arriving at the State Courts on Feb 18, 2022.

SINGAPORE — While embroiled in a work-related dispute with his employer, Seeni Paramasivam caused S$25,000 in damages to the company’s lorry by pouring soil into its engine compartment.

On Friday (Feb 18), the 40-year-old India national was jailed for 12 weeks after pleading guilty to committing mischief.

At the time of his offence, he worked for engineering firm Integrated Infrastructure as a driver and lived in its dormitory located at 2 Sungei Kadut Street 4. He got into a work-related dispute with the company in 2020.

No other details were given on the dispute, but the court heard that his monthly basic salary was S$465 and his monthly net salary — after taking into account overtime pay, allowances and other deductions — was about S$1,000.

On March 21, 2020 at about 2am, he was drinking beer in his dormitory room when he grew frustrated, feeling like his employer was not listening to him. He then decided to do something to gain the firm’s attention.

He went to the lorry parked in the dormitory’s car park and opened the engine compartment, then poured some soil into it.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Yee Jia Yong said that Paramasivam should have known his actions would damage the lorry as he was “an experienced driver”.

His actions were captured on closed-circuit television footage.

The next day, an assigned driver for the lorry reported smoke coming from the engine area. The vehicle was sent to a workshop where Paramasivam’s offences came to light.

He has since made restitution of about S$250 through salary deduction. His employer spent about S$25,000 in repairing the vehicle.

DPP Yee sought at least three months’ jail and did not seek a compensation order due to Paramasivam’s income. His lawyer Kalaithasan Karuppaya asked for a fine instead.

District Judge Christopher Goh said that while the cost of repairing the damages was not the only determining factor for sentencing, it played a big part in it.

For mischief, Paramasivam could have been jailed for up to two years or fined, or punished with both.

Related topics

court crime mischief migrant worker dormitory

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