Food deliveryman jailed for stealing e-bike batteries, fined for spitting bubble tea pearls at students

SINGAPORE: A food deliveryman who stole e-bike batteries, cut the brakes of bicycles and spat bubble tea pearls at Madrasah students was fired to 13 weeks’ jail and fined S$3,000 on Monday (Nov 14).

Toh Jun Sheng, 27, pleaded guilty to five charges, including theft, mischief and using criminal force by spitting tapioca starch balls. Another five charges were considered in sentencing.

The court heard that Toh was riding his e-bike on Mar 9 last year along Victoria Street when he shouted “hoi!” at two Madrasah students aged 14 and 15.

The students made space to give way to him, but Toh spat bubble tea pearls at them as he rode past. The pearls landed on the tudung that one of the girls was wearing and hitting the other girl’s back.

Toh also spat bubble tea pearls at three other Madrasah students that same evening as he was “bored” and thought it was funny to do so.

The students reported the incident to their school and a teacher lodged a police report.

THE E-BIKE BATTERY THEFT

On May 18 last year, Toh was at a block in Bukit Batok when he saw a Grab delivery rider enter a lift at the ground floor with his e-bike.

Toh went to see which floor the lift stopped at and realised the rider had gone up to the ninth floor. He took the lift up to the seventh floor, parked his own e-bike there and took the stairs up to the ninth floor.

He then stole a rechargeable e-bike battery worth S$1,500 from the victim’s e-bike, which was parked outside a flat.

Two days later, Toh told fellow food delivery colleague Yeoh Jia Hong that he had managed to steal an e-bike battery. He asked Yeoh, who is now 22, if he wanted an e-bike battery and to follow him back to the same place to steal another one.

Yeoh agreed, and both men went to the same flat on the morning of May 21, 2021. They found the same victim’s e-bike parked outside his flat and stole two e-bike batteries – one was attached to the e-bike, while the second was on the floor.

Around April 2021, Toh and Yeoh became unhappy with a man over several past incidents.

On one occasion, the man purportedly made a face as Toh rode his e-bike past him and asked Toh why he was not careful.

On another occasion, the man purportedly told his friends that e-bikers did not know how to ride properly.

Toh and his accomplice Yeoh also believed that the same man had taken a photo of their e-bikes parked near an LRT station and lodged a complaint to the Land Transport Authority. As a result, food deliverymen were banned from parking their vehicles in that area.

When Toh was delivering a food order in April 2021, he came by a flat with a black bicycle parked outside. He believed that the bicycle belonged to the man and took a photo of it to show Yeoh.

Yeoh also believed that the bicycle belonged to the man, and they went together to the flat to “disturb” the man the following month, dressed in black hoodies and wearing black masks.

Toh also tried to puncture the tires of several bicycles parked outside with a thumb tack but failed.

The two men then cut the front and back brakes of two bicycles parked there. The victim later lodged a police report.

The court heard that Toh had previously been convicted of multiple offences lurking house-trespass and offences under the Moneylenders Act. He was given sentences ranging from a stint in a juvenile home, a fine and jail.

Toh’s lawyer, Mr Wee Hong Shern, asked for two sentences to run consecutively, highlighting the efforts his client had made to take responsibility for his actions.

He had made restitution through the investigating officer, Mr Wee said.

In his mitigation plea, Mr Wee said his client does not eat the tapioca pearls found in bubble tea.

“As such, he had sucked a few up in his straw and spat them out in the direction of a few (people),” he said.

He said his client claimed this was not a racially motivated attack and that he did not deliberately take aim at the victims’ heads.

UTTERLY SHAMEFUL: JUDGE

The judge addressed Toh sternly, telling him that his actions towards the students were “utterly shameful” and “not funny at all”.

“For you to do it more than once. Utterly shameful. You think you are still a teenager?” asked District Judge Eugene Teo.

“No sir,” replied Toh.

“You’re standing before the court (a) fully grown adult. For you to be doing this kind of things, on people who have done you no harm – absolutely inexcusable,” said the judge.

However, he took into account the mitigation plea, with the defense saying Toh had a plan for himself. Toh has bought a flat with his new wife and intends to start a family, Mr Wee said.

“You need to make sure that you keep to that plan, because you don’t have a very good record,” said the judge.

“You stand before me with charges which span five separate occasions stretching from 2020 all the way until 2021. Some people show that they cannot handle freedom. Mr Toh, you must not be one of them,” he said.

He imposed the maximum fines possible for the offenses against the students.

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