SINGAPORE — A man who defaced a statue of Mother Mary in the courtyard of the Church of the Nativity in Hougang last year has been acquitted of his charges of criminal trespass and defiling a place of worship to insult a religion.
The police told Yahoo News Singapore that Race Koh Jun Xian, 37, was given a stern warning in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, after which the charges were withdrawn in court on Monday (11 January).
“In addition, the man was also warned for committing criminal trespass into the same church on two earlier occasions on 2 November 2020 and 5 November 2020,” police said.
Man wanted to pray to statue
Investigations revealed that on the third occasion of trespass on 12 November, Koh used Blu Tack to stick marbles to the eyes of a statue of Mother Mary at the church in Upper Serangoon Road at around 12.30am. At the time, the church was closed to the public as it was under renovation.
In court last year, Koh told District Judge Brenda Tan, “I didn’t want to do this intentionally. I was sincere and wanting to pray to Mother Mary. I wanted to beautify her, I did not know that this is an offence.”
He was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health and found not to be of unsound mind.
The police said on Tuesday, “The man claimed that he had wanted to pray to the statue and intended to beautify it out of gratitude. Police investigations revealed the man did not think that he would be defiling the statue.
“No permanent damage was done to the statue by the man’s act. A stern warning was thus given, taking into consideration the overall context of the offences, and taking into account the period of remand served,” police added.
The church earlier said that the statue was found defaced at about 8.30am on 12 November and it made a police report shortly after.
The police established Koh’s identity through investigations and CCTV footage, and arrested the culprit on 18 November.
The statue has since been restored, according to a Facebook post by the church last year.
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