Man who dumped hand sanitisers in lift to 'kill virus' fined $4,000

Wan Ting Koh
·Reporter
·3-min read
Bottle of a hand sanitizer against blue background
Bottle of a hand sanitizer against blue background

SINGAPORE — A man who upended two bottles of hand sanitiser placed in a lift in Bishan, and tore down two posters, was fined $4,000 on Friday (24 July).

In mitigation, Low Ken Lum, 50, said he poured the sanitiser on the floor in order to “kill as many virus as possible” as the lift was “smelly and unhygienic”.

Low, who is unemployed, pleaded guilty to two charges of committing mischief in a lift at Block 182 Bishan Street 23.

The court heard that between 14 and 30 March 2020, Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council received feedback on multiple occasions from a resident claiming that the posters and bottles of hand sanitiser placed inside the lift were damaged.

In particular, on 21 March, Low, a Singaporean, had removed the hand sanitiser bottles in the lift and poured its contents on the floor at about 4.36pm. He then tore two posters from a wall of the lift and threw them onto the floor before leaving. Low repeated the acts six days later, at about 11.10am.

The incidents were captured on CCTV camera.

“The accused claimed that he had removed the bottles of hand sanitiser and poured the contents onto the floor of the lift as he wanted to ‘disinfect the lift’. He also admitted to taking the sanitiser bottles home on other occasions for his own use,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wee Hao.

According to Low, he had removed the posters as they were not properly affixed, but forgot to fix them with his own tape. He told the court that he had taken the posters down to prevent them from falling, as he had previously been cut by a falling poster.

Low’s actions caused a loss to Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council, which had to replace the poster, and the People’s Association, which had to replace the hand sanitiser bottles.

Low did not make any restitution for the posters, which are valued at $5 each, or the hand sanitiser bottles.

He said he had not offended deliberately as he had a skin condition and was very particular about cleanliness.

“I pour on floor... (my) intention is not evil and mischief, it’s to kill as many virus as possible. The lift (is) so smelly and unhygienic... during COVID-19. I (am) very sensitive about this type of virus,” he said.

He added that he did not cover his face even though he knew there was a CCTV camera in the lift.

DPP Tan described Low’s actions as inconsiderate but noted that it was not the prosecution’s case that Low had acted maliciously in any way. The prosecution left the sentence to the court and did not object to a fine.

For committing mischief, Low could have been jailed up to two years, or fined, or both.

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