He thought there were evil spirits lurking in the glass panels of lifts in his neighbourhood.
Fearing harm might come to him, Lim Beng Wei, a 55-year-old Singaporean, smashed the glass panels of several Housing Development Board (HDB) lifts in Eunos.
On Wednesday (2 January), the State Courts ordered the man to be assessed for a mandatory treatment order (MTO) after he admitted to one count of using a hammer to smash the glass panels and one count of unlawfully possessing a dangerous weapon.
Four other similar charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.
According to court documents, on 22 August, Lim went to several lifts in Blk 16 and Blk 17 Eunos Crescent at about 1am with a hammer. He smashed seven glass panels, which cost $3,150 in total to replace. Lim resided at one of the blocks.
Two days later, a person made a police report, stating that an individual in a white T-shirt and shorts kept pressing a lift and making knocking noises in the lift at Blk 16 Eunos Crescent. The police arrived eight hours later and found smashed glass panels at some lifts.
CCTV footage captured Lim leaving the block at about 1.30am with a hammer. Lim was arrested the next day.
Lim said he had to smash the glass panels due to the presence of evil spirits there. He threw the hammer into a rubbish chute after committing the offences.
In mitigation, Lim’s lawyer, Lim Yong, said that his client used to be a leading steward at Singapore Airlines (SIA). Lim was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1998 – the same year his wife left him – and he later lost his job at SIA.
“He couldn’t hold his subsequent jobs for long due to the side effects of the medications he takes for his mental illness. He often suffers from paranoia that people are trying to harm him,” said the lawyer, adding that Lim currently works part time at a restaurant.
The current offences occurred due to a relapse of his metal illness, said the lawyer. While Lim was remanded, an Institute of Mental Health senior consultant noted that Lim had held a hammer to defend himself after he claimed to have a vision of a spirit trying to disturb and attack him.
Lim will be assessed to see if he is suitable for an MTO. An MTO is a sentencing option given to offenders who suffer from mental conditions that are deemed to have contributed to their commission of the offence. Each MTO term lasts up to 24 months.
Lim will be back in court on 31 January for his sentence.
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