Public Prosecutor v Goh Kah Seng

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeMay Lucia Mesenas
Judgment Date01 October 2014
Neutral Citation[2014] SGDC 377
Citation[2014] SGDC 377
Publication Date22 January 2016
Docket NumberDAC No. 907384 of 2014 & Ors
Defendant CounselMr Louis Joseph (M/s Regent Law LLC),Mr Stephen Yeo Zhi Yuan (Attorney-General's Chambers)
District Judge May Lucia Mesenas:

The accused pleaded guilty to one count under the Moneylenders Act (Cap 188, 2010 Rev Ed) which related to acts of harassment, in particular, by defacing the door unit of one Malay occupant (who was also a debtor) by throwing pig’s innards on the said door and also defacing the wall of the same unit by affixing a piece of paper, with “O$P$ XXXXX” written in blue ink, on the said wall. One other similar charge of harassment (of defacing the door of another unit by splashing it with coffee and defacing the wall of the said unit by affixing a piece of white paper, with the details of the debtor written in blue ink, on the said wall), was taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing.

The accused was convicted and sentenced to fifteen months’ imprisonment and three strokes of the cane for the proceeded charge. Dissatisfied with the sentence, the accused filed a Notice of Appeal against the sentence on 16 September 2014. The accused is currently serving sentence and his earliest date of release is on 11 July 2015.

Summary of Facts

The accused admitted to the Statement of Facts pertaining to the above charge, without qualification. He was thus convicted on the proceeded charge accordingly. The salient points are as follows: The accused had taken loans from several unlicensed moneylenders to support his increasing family expenses. He was subsequently unable to repay his debts on time. Consequently, an illegal moneylender known to the accused as ‘Aaron’ threatened to harass the accused and his family unless the accused harassed other debtors for him. In return, a sum of $40 would be deducted from the accused’s debt for each unit that he harassed. Fearing that his family would be harassed by ‘Aaron’, he agreed to work for ‘Aaron’. On 15 May 2014, ‘Aaron’ sent the accused a text message on his mobile phone instructing him to harass a Malay debtor who had purportedly taken a loan from ‘Aaron’. On 16 May 2014, between 6.00am and 6.30am, the accused acting on the instructions of ‘Aaron’ proceeded to the Malay debtor’s flat by affixing a piece of white paper with presumably the details of the mobile phone number of the debtor as well as the words “O$P$”. Further, the accused also threw pig’s innards onto the door of the said unit whose occupant is a Malay individual. This act was likely to cause annoyance to the said Malay occupant of the said unit and had also caused damage to the above property.

Antecedents

In 1999, the accused was previously sentenced to reformative training for a period of 3 years for the following offences of voluntarily causing hurt (section 323 Penal Code Cap 224), being a member of an unlawful assembly (section 143 of the Penal Code Cap 224) and criminal intimidation (section 506 of the Penal Code Cap 224).

Prosecution’s Submissions

The prosecution had urged this Court to consider imposing a sentence of fifteen months’ imprisonment and three strokes of the cane, specifically highlighting the aggravating fact that the accused had thrown pig’s innards at a Malay occupant’s unit which was clearly offensive to the victim’s religious sensitivities. Similar sentences were meted out (for similar acts of harassment where pieces of pork were either hung on the main door or soup made of pork ribs (“Bak Kut Teh”) were thrown at the gate or door of Muslim households (see...

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