Web Stories Thursday, February 29

SINGAPORE — A man was sentenced to a one-year mandatory treatment order on Wednesday (Jan 17) after he tried to tried to pull open doors of moving MRT trains.

Under such an order, eligible offenders will be directed to undergo treatment at a psychiatric institution for up to 36 months instead of serving jail time.

Vanessa Wang Zi Qi, 47, who is identified in court documents as a man, pleaded guilty on Jan 5 to two charges of being a public nuisance and a charge of voluntarily causing hurt.

Another charge of being a public nuisance was taken into consideration for sentencing.

A video of Wang, dressed in a skirt, attempting to pull the MRT doors open went viral last month.

In meting out the sentence, Deputy Principal District Judge Kessler Soh asked Wang is he was prepared to undergo the mandatory treatment, to which he said yes.

“You must make sure to comply with the psychiatrist. Take the medicine as prescribed and make sure such offences do not happen again,” said the judge.

He also arranged for a court counsellor to speak to Wang to “explore plans” to ensure he complies with the treatment.

WHAT HAPPENED

The court had heard on Jan 5 that Wang had boarded an MRT train on the North-South Line on Nov 29 last year at around 12.49pm. 

Court documents did not specify the station where he boarded the train.

While travelling between Khatib station and Yio Chu Kang station, Wang pulled at the doors of the train to test if they could be opened, and succeeded in forcing a gap between the doors.

Several commuters told him to stop, while one approached him and asked him to wait for the next stop.

At Yio Chu Kang station, Wang continued to pull on the doors.

An unknown commuter then pressed the emergency button, and several SMRT staff members responded.

They asked Wang to leave the train, but he refused to do so and started to shout at the workers not to touch him.

The staff members then remained on the train with Wang as it moved towards Ang Mo Kio station

While on board the moving train, Wang continued to swing his elbows in a bid to prevent the SMRT staff members from touching him. 

Wang also called the police, stating that he was being asked to alight and wanted to meet them at Bishan MRT Station.

When an SMRT employee tried to talk to Wang, Wang kicked him in the leg multiple times.

At Ang Mo Kio station, more SMRT staff members had to board the train to remove Wang by “necessary force” because he was shouting and kicking violently, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Yvonne Poon.

Wang then laid down on the platform and refused to move as he called the Singapore Civil Defence Force to say that he was injured and required help.

Wang later revealed during investigations that he had pulled on train doors to prevent them from closing on Nov 27 last year while on board a train at Braddell station.

This gap was wide enough for two or three people to walk through.

The two public nuisance charges to which he pleaded guilty pertained to the separate incidents at Braddell station on Nov 27 and between Khatib and Yio Chu Kang stations on Nov 29.

The public nuisance charge taken into consideration for sentencing related to a similar offence at Yio Chu Kang station on Dec 1.

The court heard previously that Wang has a history of mental illnesses. He was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and bipolar disorder in 2019, and adjustment order in 2021.

Around the time of his offences, Wang was in a hypomanic relapse of his bipolar disorder, which can be characterised by an elevated and irritable mood, increased energy, reduced need for sleep, and excessive involvement in activities with the potential for painful consequences.

Wang is also suffering from a borderline personality disorder.

Anyone guilty of voluntarily causing hurt could be jailed for up to three years or fined up to S$5,000, or both.

Anyone guilty of committing a public nuisance could be fined up to S$2,000.

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