Man who threw worms at neighbours' HDB unit jailed and fined

Hannah Teoh
Senior Content Producer
Singapore’s State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

Frustrated with the noise coming from a family who were his neighbours, a man threw a clump of worms into their unit. He even flung two metal laundry stands and other items down from the ninth floor of an HDB block.

On Friday (23 February), Goon Yoke Seng, 58, was sentenced to four weeks’ jail and a $3,000 fine in the State Courts after he pleaded guilty to one count of harassment, one count of committing a rash act and one count of causing mischief. Two other similar charges were taken into consideration.

The court heard that sometime in October 2017, Goon had confronted his neighbours, who lived one floor above him at a block in Toa Payoh, because he felt they were noisy. The family assured Goon they would try to reduce the noise coming from their unit.

The situation improved for a while but on 7 November. Goon went to the unit to complain about the noise again. The neighbours gave him the same assurance on reducing the noise level.

Angry about the situation, Goon took a handful of live and dead worms, which he used to feed his pet fish, and threw them through the open window of the neighbours’ unit. The neighbours called the police after discovering worms on their bed and in the living room, as well as in the garbage left outside the unit.

After the dispute, the neighbours installed a CCTV camera outside the unit.

Later in the same month, Goon removed a shoe rack, two metal laundry stands and a lamp outside the unit and threw them down from the ninth floor. No one was injured when the items landed on the ground floor, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Dora Tay.

When Goon noticed the CCTV camera after throwing the items, he took a pair of pliers from his home and cut the wires of the CCTV.

The neighbours, who were tenants, moved out of the unit a few weeks after the incidents.

DPP Tay sought a jail term of five weeks, saying that someone could have been hurt if struck by any of the items thrown by Goon. She noted that Goon had committed five of the offences in the same month.

In mitigation, Goon, who was unrepresented, told the court that he had not been working for the past 16 years as he had been taking care of his elderly mother who is a wheelchair user.

Goon said that he and his family had been subjected to noise coming from the neighbouring unit for a number of months. The noises that he claimed to have heard included the sound of people jumping on the sofa, moving furniture and banging on the walls. The constant noise had caused distress to his family and he had lost a lot of weight over the matter, Goon added.

“Truly speaking, we are the real victims,” he added and asked District Judge (DJ) Terence Tay for the minimum sentence.

In response, DJ Tay told Goon, “We have to find our own ways to deal with these (neighbour dispute) issues and not overreact the way you did.”

Encouraging Goon to seek mediation for the dispute through the Housing Development Board and the Community Mediation Centre, the judge added, “Take this as a lesson for your actions. You will have to be more tolerant towards your neighbours.”