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Slingshot enthusiast jailed 3 weeks after breaking Hougang HDB flat windows by firing ball bearings

SINGAPORE — A 61-year-old man who practised using his slingshot on the rooftop of a multi-storey car park, but ended up damaging nearby flat windows with his projectiles, was sentenced to three weeks’ jail on Wednesday (April 13).

Chan Fan Kheow at the State Courts on April 5, 2022.

Chan Fan Kheow at the State Courts on April 5, 2022.

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  • Chan Fan Kheow's interest in slingshots grew after a visit to China where he observed competitions
  • He bought a number of slingshots and various projectiles, including marbles and ball bearings
  • He practised trying to hit plastic bottles on a rooftop car park but often missed
  • His lawyers said he will consider appealing against his jail sentence

SINGAPORE — A 61-year-old man who practised using his slingshot on the rooftop of a multi-storey car park, but ended up damaging nearby flat windows with his projectiles, was jailed for three weeks on Wednesday (April 13).

Chan Fan Kheow shot metal ball bearings at plastic bottles when he was on the rooftop of a Housing and Development Board (HDB) block in Hougang, but sometimes missed his targets altogether.

He was nabbed when the authorities reviewed police camera footage from housing blocks in the area and spotted him taking a slingshot out of his pocket while waiting for a lift.

On Wednesday, Chan was granted a deferment of his sentence until April 27. His lawyers, who sought one day of imprisonment if a jail term was warranted, said that he will consider filing an appeal against his sentence.

Chan pleaded guilty last week to one count of committing a rash act that endangered the personal safety of others. District Judge Marvin Bay took into consideration another charge of carrying an offensive weapon in public for sentencing purposes.

Singapore bans the possession and importation of slingshots.

The court earlier heard that Chan first picked up the hobby of using slingshots in November 2019 when he noticed that e-marketplace Taobao was listing them for sale at cheap prices and bought some from the online retailer.

He then went to Guangzhou, China for a business trip where he observed slingshot competitions and decided to attend coaching sessions.

He ended up buying seven slingshots and several packs of marbles, coloured pellets, as well as metal ball bearings in various sizes.

He started off by practising hitting makeshift target boards in his own flat. Soon after, he began practising at the rooftop of the multi-storey car park at Block 933 Hougang Avenue 9.

His routine was to place several plastic bottles on the ground and ledge of the rooftop, before standing some distance away and shooting pellets and bearings at the bottles with his slingshot. He often aimed in the direction of nearby Block 923.

On Dec 25, 2019, one of the metal ball bearings struck a glass panel in the living room of a flat at Block 923. The force left a crack and a small hole in the window.

The occupant made a police report later that evening, saying a “very rounded glass shard” had dropped from his window into the house.

On Jan 12, 2020, Chan practised with his slingshot again. One of the metal ball bearings again hit a bedroom window of another flat in Block 923, leaving a hole about the size of a five-cent coin.

The occupant similarly made a police report.

The following day, the police found nine metal ball bearings scattered around the car park rooftop area. They also looked at police camera footage and saw Chan taking a slingshot out of his pocket.

He was arrested three days later. In May last year, he made full restitution of S$310 to the victims for their damaged windows.

A Health Sciences Authority report stated that Chan’s medium- and large-sized ball bearings could damage the units’ windows from where Chan was shooting.

His ball bearings could have also caused eye injuries if they had hit someone standing at an open window in the victims’ units, the report added.

For committing a rash act endangering personal safety, he could have been jailed for up to 12 months or fined up to S$5,000, or punished with both.

Related topics

court crime slingshot Hougang HDB car park rash act

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