S'pore teen admits to making & detonating improvised bombs at East Coast Park as he likes 'hands-on stuff'

A police report was made after he shared footage of his homemade bombs on Instagram.

Lee Wei Lin | May 20, 2022, 02:22 AM

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A polytechnic student in Singapore has pleaded guilty to four charges of making explosives without a licence, committing a rash act with a dangerous substance likely to cause hurt or injury to others, and abetting such an act, CNA reported.

Another three charges will also be considered when he is sentenced in June 2022.

He cannot be named as he was under 18 when he committed the offences.

The Children and Young Persons Act bans the identification of such young offenders.

What happened

In April 2019, the then-17-year-old allegedly detonated two "sparkler bombs" while at the beach area along East Coast Parkway, according to The Straits Times.

After placing one of them on a raised platform, he told his friend to light it up and throw it towards the sea.

His friend obliged, and the teen recorded the explosion, subsequently uploading a video on his Instagram account.

The device is reported to have emitted a series of flashes, and an explosion was also heard in the footage.

Built improvised pipe bombs

Between May and June 2020, he started building improvised pipe bombs and purchased 200 boxes of matchsticks to do so, CNA additionally reported.

On June 7 of the same year, the teen met a friend at East Coast Park and decided to detonate the bombs near the Skate Park. He had with him several sparkler bombs and two pipe bombs.

After his sparkler bombs produced flames but did not explode, the teen picked one of them up and threw it towards a grass patch. It exploded upon impact.

He took a video of another explosion after placing the pipe bombs on a grass patch, lighting it and running away.

One of the pipe bombs emitted sparks and caused a loud explosion. The teen again shared the footage on his Instagram account.

He brought the other pipe bomb that had failed to explode home and threw it away in the rubbish chute.

Police report made days later

On June 19, a police report was lodged online about an Instagram user posting footage of homemade explosives, ST reported.

The teen's home was raided at 1am on June 20, and items related to the construction of homemade bombs were discovered and seized, CNA reported.

Teenager pleads guilty, says he's remorseful

Now 19, the teen, who is pursuing a diploma in aerospace engineering, admitted to the charges in court on May 19, according to CNA.

He said he committed the offences because he likes to do "hands-on stuff", but acknowledged that "there is a right way and wrong to do it".

The court also heard that he was treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder.

District Judge Kessler Soh remarked, according to CNA: "You might like to tinker with things and experiment, but there is a right way to do it, as you said.”

Soh called for a report to assess if he is suitable for probation, but has not ruled out the possibility of reformative training.

Probation is usually offered to first-time offenders aged between 16 and 21 and does not result in a criminal record. It also allows young offenders to continue with their education or employment while serving their sentences.

Those who commit a rash act with a dangerous substance or combustible matter likely to cause hurt or injury to another person, or abet such an act can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to S$5,000, or both.

Those who manufacture explosives without a licence can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to S$10,000.

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