2 boys, aged 14 & 15, investigated after removing public signage in S'pore for TikTok challenge

The challenge originated overseas and was spread through social media.

Fiona Tan | September 22, 2021, 07:34 AM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

Two male teenagers, aged 14 and 15, are under police investigation for removing government property as part of the "Devious Licks" social media challenge.

First incident

According to the police release on Sep. 21, the first incident involved a 15-year-old male teenager, who was pictured holding onto a signage of Kaki Bukit MRT station.

Image from @singapura.viral/Instagram

The signage, which belongs to the Land Transport Authority, was originally mounted onto the frame of the sheltered walkway leading to the said MRT station.

The police were alerted to the image after a receiving a report at around 5:16pm on Sep. 19. The image was also shared onto various social media platforms.

Through follow-up investigations and with the aid of images from police cameras, the police established the boy's identity and recovered the signage from his home.

Second incident

The second incident involved a 14-year-old male teenager, who was videoed holding onto a signage belonging to the National Environment Agency.

The signage, which was originally attached to the ground along Jalan Songket, was allegedly removed by the teenager for a TikTok video.

Image from @singapura.viral/Instagram

Image from @singapura.viral/Instagram

After the filming, the signage was allegedly returned to its original position.

Similarly, the police were alerted to the video after receiving a report at around 9:40pm on Sep. 19.

The 14-year-old's identity was established after follow-up investigations by the police.

What is "Devious Licks"?

According to Urban Dictionary, a "lick" refers to a successful theft.

The term "Devious Licks" is also otherwise known as "Diabolical Licks" or "Dastardly Licks", and the terms are often used to caption videos that were posted onto TikTok.

The Devious Licks trend reportedly originated from one TikTok user who posted a video of a box of disposable masks, believed to be stolen from his school, along with the caption: "A month into school... devious lick" on Sep. 1.

The video, now deleted, went viral and started the trend of stealing, damaging, and/or removing school and public properties that many youth soon followed.

In response, several schools in the U.S. have had to lock their bathrooms to prevent such incidents.

Locally, there have been several videos with similar captions circulating on TikTok.

Last week, TikTok said that the platform has banned videos related to this trend as such videos violate its community guidelines.

Police are aware

The police said that they are aware of such social media posts that show government property being removed.

Such acts involving the removal of government property without the written authority of an authorised officer or representative of the Government constitute an offence of vandalism punishable under Section 3 of the Vandalism Act, the police said.

If found guilty, offenders may face an imprisonment term of up to three years, a fine up to S$2,000, and a caning of between three to eight strokes.

Follow and listen to our podcast here

Top image by @singapura.viral/Instagram