Teen who trespassed into rhino enclosure sent to RTC

·3 min read
(PHOTOS: YouTube and TikTok)
(PHOTOS: YouTube and TikTok)

SINGAPORE — The teen who made the news last year for doing a backflip inside the Singapore Zoo's white rhinoceros enclosure and then posting a video of the incident on his TikTok account was on Monday (20 December) made to undergo reformative training for one year.

Ralph Wee Yi Kai, 19, had last month pleaded guilty at the State Courts to taking cannabis, causing unnecessary suffering to a frog, possessing imitation tobacco products, trespassing into the rhino enclosure, and committing mischief by damaging property.

Another six counts of a similar nature were considered in sentencing.

Backflip video viewed over 55,000 times

On 17 December last year, Wee trespassed into the zoo's rhino enclosure, which had a low fence, to do the backflip.

His then 18-year-old girlfriend filmed the act and posted it on her private Snapchat account while Wee posted it on his public TikTok account. Wee's clip was viewed 55,000 times by the time a police report was made by the zoo's deputy director of park operations later the same day.

The culprit later removed the video at the behest of the police, but reposted it the next day, before being told again to remove it. He claimed that he thought the video had been made private.

Wee also included a link to a page selling T-shirts and hoodies with the words "rhino ralph" in his Instagram account. However, he denied creating the merchandise profile and later removed the link.

Killed frog at friend's home

Just a week after the trespass incident, Wee killed a frog at his friend's home in Sentosa Cove.

His friend bought two packets of frogs for a prank. Wee placed one of the 17 frogs on a foosball table and directed a ball at high speed towards it. The frog was hit and died from the impact, with the act captured on film by a friend. Wee later cut up the dead frog and threw it into a canal.

Earlier, on 9 October last year, Wee also caused damage to public and private property. He kicked an information panel at a bus stop, causing $900 worth of damage. He also kicked the side mirrors of a Mercedes Benz car, causing $2792.70 in damage.

A taxi driver who saw the culprit standing in the middle of the road with a beer bottle in hand called the police.

On 6 August this year, Wee was arrested at his home and his urine samples tested positive for cannabis. He admitted to consuming the drug in his bedroom.

The next month, three police officers went to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), where Wee was warded, to arrest him for failing to attend his court hearing. Six pieces of e-cigarette pods were seized among his belongings.

Wee had been admitted to IMH for drug and alcohol abuse, as he had acted aggressively towards his parents when he demanded for drugs. He was warded due to the risk he posed to his parents, the court heard.

Wee was also placed on compulsory supervision for 60 months from 16 December last year. He was required to present himself for urine tests on each Tuesday and Thursday, but failed to turn up on four occasions.

By then, he had already been placed on electronic tagging, having been charged for his earlier offences. He had to stay at home from 10pm to 6am as part of his bail conditions.

But on the night of 26 October, Wee became upset at his father, who had asked him to sleep early since he had to report for his urine test in the morning. After an argument, Wee cut off his electronic tag with a pair of pliers and then cycled to a friend’s home.

Reformative training is a rehabilitative sentencing option for young offenders aged under 21 who are found to be unsuitable for probation.

A stint at the Reformative Training Centre lasts between 18 and 30 months. Offenders will not have contact with adult prison inmates. The sentence carries a criminal record.

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