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18 months' probation for student who detonated homemade bombs at East Coast Park

SINGAPORE — A 19-year-old polytechnic student was sentenced to 18 months’ probation on Thursday (June 30) for making several improvised bombs at home and detonating some of them at East Coast Park.
District Judge Kessler Soh ordered a youth to remain indoors from 10pm to 6am and perform 60 hours of community service after the teenager was sentenced for making explosives without a licence and other offences.
District Judge Kessler Soh ordered a youth to remain indoors from 10pm to 6am and perform 60 hours of community service after the teenager was sentenced for making explosives without a licence and other offences.
  • A teenager began researching how to make improvised bombs in 2020
  • He assembled several homemade pipe and sparkler bombs and planned to detonate them in public areas
  • He set some off at East Coast Park, posting video clips of this on his Instagram account
  • He now has to serve an 18-month probation sentence

SINGAPORE — A 19-year-old polytechnic student was sentenced to 18 months’ probation on Thursday (June 30) for making several improvised bombs at home and detonating some of them at East Coast Park.

His offences from 2019 to 2020 caught the authorities’ attention when he posted video clips of his antics on his Instagram account, which prompted someone to file a police report. No one was injured.

The teenager cannot be named by law because he was under 18 when he committed the offences. The Children and Young Persons Act bans the identification of such young offenders.

He had pleaded guilty last month to four charges, including manufacturing explosives without a licence. Three other similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

At the time of his offences, he was a student at the Institute of Technical Education. He previously told the court that he is now pursuing aerospace engineering at a polytechnic.

As part of the probation conditions, District Judge Kessler Soh ordered him to remain indoors from 10pm to 6am and perform 60 hours of community service.

He also has to attend psychiatric or psychological treatment and take his prescribed medication. He had been treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the years leading up to his offences.

His parents posted a bond of S$5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sean Teh did not object to probation being imposed. He noted from a probation report that the youth’s fascination with explosives was “not assessed to be extensive” and that he has moved on to other interests.

The student has also regularly attended school, does not have disciplinary issues and has a fairly close relationship with his family, the prosecutor told the court.

District Judge Soh warned the teenager to avoid “doing these potentially dangerous acts again”.

Probation is usually offered to first-time offenders aged between 16 and 21 and does not result in a criminal record. It also allows young offenders to continue with their education or employment while serving their sentences.

MADE IMPROVISED PIPE, SPARKLER BOMBS

In May 2020, Singapore was under a partial lockdown that restricted movements and activities to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The youth then began researching how to make explosives on the internet and watched videos on YouTube. He decided to construct improvised pipe bombshaving earlier made what was described in court as "sparkler bombs".

On June 7, 2020, he met two friends at East Coast Park where they planned to find a quiet spot to detonate the bombs. He rode his electric scooter there and the trio went to the vicinity of Skate Park along East Coast Parkway.

Between 8pm and 11pm, the youth detonated several of the sparkler bombs and pipe bombs. He placed them on a grass patch, lit their fuses and ran away before the bombs exploded.

He recorded the explosion on the grass patch, which his friends also witnessed, using his mobile phone.

One of the pipe bombs during the outing had not exploded, so he took it home and discarded it down the rubbish chute of the housing block where he lived.

Then he posted the video clip on his Instagram account.

Earlier in April 2019, he detonated two improvised sparkler bombs while at a beach area along East Coast Parkway. He placed one on a raised platform and told his friend to light it up and throw it towards the sea, which his friend did.

The youth recorded the explosion and posted another video on his Instagram account. The clip showed the device emitting a series of flashes and an explosion could be heard.

On June 19, 2020, a man lodged a police report, providing information about the incriminating Instagram account.

Police officers raided the youth’s flat several hours later and seized multiple items related to the construction of the homemade bombs. This included another pipe bomb that the youth had planned to detonate the next month.

Singapore Armed Forces' explosives ordnance disposal engineers later disposed of it in a safe manner.

Those who manufacture explosives without a licence can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to S$10,000.

Related topics

court crime pipe bombs sparkler bombs East Coast Park teenager

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