While in Malaysia, churches are under attack while in Singapore....sigh, can't people pray in peace?
Jan 14, 2010
Boy burned books, causing inferno
Teen's mischief last year caused $3.3m in damage to mosque
By Elena Chong, Courts Correspondent
An upset teen set two books on fire in a room and left. The fire subsequently spread to other parts of the Kampung Siglap Mosque. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN
A 14-YEAR-OLD boy, upset that his father thought so little of him, vented his frustration by setting alight two religious books in a mosque. The resulting inferno on Oct 6 last year caused about $3.3million in damage to the Kampung Siglap Mosque in Marine Parade Road.
The teenager admitted yesterday to committing mischief by fire, and pleaded guilty to unlawfully entering Apex Harmony Lodge, a Pasir Ris nursing home, with theft in mind.
Yesterday, the boy stood next to his parents in the courtroom.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo said the boy had run away from home on Oct 4, feeling that his father did not love him. He was afraid to go home, as he feared his father would threaten to send him away again to a religious school in Malaysia.
He slept the next night at the mosque, and awoke the following day frustrated with his life and with how his father had berated him for being stupid and unable to memorise the Quran.
That afternoon, he went to the women's prayer section on the second floor and set two books on fire with a cigarette lighter.
He then left the room. The fire subsequently spread to other parts of the mosque, including its main prayer hall, and had to be put out by the Singapore Civil Defence Force. No one was hurt.
Closed-circuit TV cameras at the mosque caught the boy entering and leaving the second floor. Cameras at the nursing home also caught him loitering in the compound in the early hours of Oct 4.
The boy's lawyer Hussien Abdul Latiff said his client never intended or knew that his act would cause that much damage.
He explained that the former madrasah student was more inclined to religious education, having fared better in religious subjects than in the secular ones. He added that the boy's father wanted to put him in a religious institution in East Java, Indonesia.
Mr Hussien asked the court to call for a pre-sentencing report to weigh the merits of this against those of sending him to a Muslim home for children.
DPP Khoo, who did not object to probation, called for a more structured probation to include a stay at the Singapore Boys' Home, given the seriousness of the boy's offence and his parents' inability to control him.
The boy shook his head when asked if he wished to say anything. Judge Lim Keng Yeow postponed sentencing, pending a probation report due on Feb 9.