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Teen in TikTok backflip stunt admits entering rhino enclosure, killing frog, drug consumption, other offences

SINGAPORE — A teenager who gained notoriety in a viral video in which he backflipped in the Singapore Zoo’s rhinoceros enclosure has admitted to various offences such as killing a frog on a foosball table, drug consumption and damaging the side mirrors of a Mercedes Benz car. He also pleaded guilty to criminal trespass into the rhino enclosure.

Teen in TikTok backflip stunt admits entering rhino enclosure, killing frog, drug consumption, other offences

Ralph Wee Yi Kai arriving at the State Courts (left) in July 2021, and a screengrab of a TikTok video (right), where a young man is seen in a rhinoceros enclosure at the Singapore Zoo.

  • Ralph Wee Yi Kai, 19, has pleaded guilty to eight charges, including trespassing into the zoo's rhinoceros enclosure
  • A district court has called for both a probation and a reformative training suitability report
  • The prosecution and the defence were split on whether Wee has the right home environment to set him back on the right path

 

SINGAPORE — A teenager who gained notoriety in a viral video in which he backflipped in the Singapore Zoo’s rhinoceros enclosure has admitted to various offences such as killing a frog on a foosball table, drug consumption and damaging the side mirrors of a Mercedes Benz car. He also pleaded guilty to criminal trespass into the rhino enclosure.

On Thursday (Nov 25), Ralph Wee Yi Kai, 19, pleaded guilty to eight charges:

  • Damaging the side mirror of a Mercedes Benz car
  • Damaging a bus stop information panel
  • Criminal trespass into Singapore Zoo’s rhinoceros enclosure
  • Causing unnecessary suffering to a frog
  • Consuming cannabis
  • Possessing six e-cigarette pods
  • Failing to present himself for a urine test
  • Cutting off his electronic ankle tag

Six other charges are to be taken into consideration for Wee’s sentencing. The case is due back in court on Dec 20.

District Judge May Mesenas has called for a report on Wee’s suitability for probation and reformative training before she sentences the home-schooled youth.

Probation is usually offered to first-time offenders aged between 16 and 21 and does not result in a criminal record, while reformative training is a regimented rehabilitation programme for offenders under 21 who commit relatively serious crimes.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Melissa Lee, who called for the reformative training suitability report, said that Wee has demonstrated a “blatant disregard for rules... and a proclivity of crime”.

She added that his current home environment is “unable to provide him with the kind of support needed to keep him on the right path”, and he will thus benefit from a rehabilitative programme under a structured system.

Wee’s lawyer, Mr Shashi Nathan of law firm Withers LLP, did not object to the prosecution’s request, adding that obtaining a probation suitability report would allow the court to “have full the spectrum of options available”.

However, he disagreed with the prosecutor’s assessment about Wee’s home environment.

“His family have been extremely supportive... and they will follow through and make sure Ralph comes out a better and stronger younger man, and put all of this behind him.”

The lawyer added that at the time when all of these offences took place, his client was going through a “severe emotional crisis”.

“Without going too much into the facts, he had broken up with his girlfriend and that caused a downward spiral. A lot of his behaviour emanated from that breakup.”

The following are some details of Wee’s offences.

1. Damaging bus stop information panel and a vehicle – Oct 9, 2020

DPP Lee said that Wee went to a friend’s home that day as he was “going through some difficulties” and needed to speak to him about it.

But the conversations left him “increasingly emotional” and around 2.40am, he took out his frustrations on an information panel at a bus stop along Sixth Avenue by kicking it, causing about S$900 worth of damage.

While walking back to his friend’s house, he decided to kick the side mirrors of a Mercedes Benz, which caused damage of around S$2,792.

For these acts of mischief, he could be jailed for up to two years or fined, or both for each charge.

2. Backflip at the rhino enclosure 

Inspired by a viral video of a man riding a giraffe, Wee made a decision to jump over the low fence of the white rhinoceros enclosure at the Singapore Zoo because he wanted to make a similarly viral video, DPP Lee said.

Wee entered the enclosure on Dec 17 last year and did the backflip, which was recorded by his then-girlfriend.

The video was later uploaded to his public TikTok account where it was seen by an employee of the zoo, who sought the assistance of the police because he was afraid that it might lead to others copying the act.

The video had been viewed about 55,000 times by the time the police report was made.

For criminal trespass, Wee could be jailed for up to three months or fined up to S$1,500, or both.

3. Killing a frog

On Christmas eve last year, Wee went to a friend’s home at Sentosa Cove for a gathering.

Wee’s friend had bought two packets containing 17 frogs as a Christmas prank for another guest.

While playing foosball with his friends, Wee placed a frog on the table and directed a ball at the creature with high speed and force. The frog died soon after.

One of Wee's friends filmed the incident and posted it on social media.

For this act of cruelty, We could be jailed for up to 18 months or fined up to S$15,000, or both.

4. Cannabis consumption 

Having learnt that Wee had committed drug-related offences in his home, the police arrested the youth around 2.20am on Aug 6 this year and took him to the Central Police Divisional Headquarters.

There, he was asked to provide two urine samples, which were sent for analysis.

Wee later admitted that he had consumed cannabis two days before while he was alone in his bedroom. This was when he was out on bail for committing prior offences, DPP Lee said.

The consumption of cannabis is punishable with a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to S$20,000.

5. Possessing e-cigarette pods 

Three police officers arrested Wee at the Institute of Mental Health on Sept 14 this year because he had failed to attend a court hearing.

During the arrest, they discovered six pieces of e-cigarette pods among his belongings.

DPP Lee said that the e-cigarette pods are components of an imitation tobacco product, which is an offence punishable with a fine of up to S$2,000.

6. Cutting off electronic ankle tag 

At around midnight on Oct 26 this year, Wee got into an argument with his father because the older man was reminding him to sleep early since he had to report to the Central Narcotics Bureau Tanglin Division the following morning.

DPP Lee said that Wee decided to leave home and used a pair of pliers to cut off his electronic tag, even though he knew that leaving his home during his curfew hours would be a breach of his bail conditions.

After cutting off the tag, he cycled to a friend’s home and his absence was discovered by his father, who called the police.

Cutting off an electronic ankle tag is seen as an act of mischief that can be punished with a jail term of up to two years or a fine, or both.

7. Failure to report for a urine test

Wee had been placed under compulsory supervision for a period of five years on Dec 16 last year.

As part of the supervision, he is required to present himself for urine tests at the Tanglin Police Divisional Headquarters twice a week every month between 9.30am and 10pm until Dec 15 in 2025.

However, he failed to do so on Oct 26 this year even though he had already been charged for the above offences and had no valid reason for his no-show, DPP Lee said.

This offence is punishable with up to four years’ jail or a fine of up to S$10,000, or both.

Related topics

crime court mischief Singapore Zoo TikTok cannabis

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