SINGAPORE — Irritated by the construction work going on next door and wanting to speak her mind about it, Wang Su Chuan trespassed into her neighbour’s flat in a public housing block where they both lived.
On another occasion, she threw her sandal into the neighbour’s flat before entering to retrieve the shoe.
For trespassing, the 68-year-old was penalised with an S$800 fine. Two charges for mischief were taken into consideration.
When District Judge Carol Ling asked her if she wished to plead guilty, Wang said that she was doing so because she did not want to “spend my whole life in court”.
Frustrated by the noise from renovation works by her next-door neighbour, Wang went to the neighbour’s home to complain about the disturbance on May 11.
Seeing that the main door was open, Wang entered the flat to see if she could confront someone about the din.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Timotheus Koh said: “She went to the kitchen and spoke to one of the renovation workers there, demanding to speak to one of the unit’s occupants.
“She then got into an argument with one of the occupants, who chased her out of the unit.”
On June 23, Wang trespassed into her neighbour’s home again.
Suspecting that one of the occupants had thrown away one of her sandals, Wang wanted to get to the bottom of it.
She threw the remaining side of the pair of sandals into their home and entered the unit. When she did not see anyone, she picked up her sandal and left.
As for the two mischief charges, Wang poured urine on four pairs of shoes and a shoe rack at the corridor of her neighbour’s flat on April 24, 2021.
On Feb 4 last year, she used a marker pen to draw circles on the floor of the corridor outside this same neighbour’s flat.
HISTORY OF PROBLEMS WITH NEIGHBOUR
DPP Koh sought a total sentence of S$800 to S$1,200 in fines for the two charges.
“The accused has reoffended repeatedly, but she has not caused any hurt or substantial loss to date,” he said.
Wang had received legal help from Ms Lim Lei Theng under the Enhanced Guidance for Plea Scheme — where volunteer lawyers provide free legal advice to some accused persons administered by the State Courts’ Community Justice Centre.
However, she chose to deliver her mitigation plea on Thursday.
Pleading for leniency, she said: “When I was accused of trespassing… (it was) because of the noisy renovation — it was unbearable.
“Being their neighbour next door, I was hardest hit.”
She added that the renovation noise was too loud, so knocking on their door was of no use. That was why she decided to enter their home.
Assisting Wang, Ms Lim said: “Based on my conversation with Madam Wang, she has had problems with the neighbour for quite some years… her action came after a history of unpleasant (encounters).”
Ms Lim added that Wang had made reports to the police, the Housing and Development Board, the town council and other agencies for help with the dispute she had with the neighbour.
Wang said that she had been furious with her neighbour over the missing sandal and it had “triggered everything”.
“Now you give me a million dollars, I also don’t want to go to their house,” she added.
In response to DPP Koh’s comment that he hopes Wang would not reoffend, Wang said: “Of course I don’t want to spend my life in court, but most of the (problems were) caused by my neighbour.”
For each charge of trespassing, Wang could have been fined up to S$1,000.