S'pore man, 54, flicked DIY explosive device off flat window, which exploded in another unit

Ong had done the same thing in June and July 2019, but did not know where the devices landed.

Ashley Tan | June 22, 2022, 07:04 PM

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54-year-old Ong Lam Wah was convicted of committing a rash act that endangered human life, after an explosive device he made went off in a neighbour's HDB flat.

Learnt from online videos

Ong was interested in bombs and air guns, The Straits Times reported, and had learnt to make matchstick explosive devices from online videos.

The devices consist of match heads taped together with striking strips. When the box hits a surface, the match heads ignite, creating a small explosion.

Ong thought it would be fun to create explosion sounds.

ST reported Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Jing Min as saying that Ong was looking for a "cheap way" to make a device that could make loud sounds and had therefore used matchsticks.

He would then flick the handmade devices off his 16th-floor Sengkang flat's window ledge.

In court, he admitted to having done so on two prior occasions in June and July 2019, but had no idea where the devices landed, Today reported.

On both these occasions, he had apparently flicked them off the window at night, so he would not be caught by others.

Neighbour was praying when device exploded

However, on Aug. 14, 2019, the device landed inside the sixth-floor home of Muhamad Yazin Hadi, who lives at the same block.

According to ST, Yazin was praying at the time when he was interrupted by the sound of an explosion. After the explosion, he experienced ringing in his ear for several minutes and smelt an odour similar to gunpowder.

He then spotted a green box and some black specks on the floor of his unit, and there was also some white smoke.

Yazin subsequently called the police.

Following his conviction, Ong will be assessed for his suitability for a Day Reporting Order (DRO) or Community Service Order (CSO), Today reported.

Offenders under a DRO will have to report to a day reporting officer on a regular basis and undergo rehabilitation for up to a year. Meanwhile, offenders under a CSO will have to perform supervised community service for up to 40 hours.

Those found guilty of committing a rash act that endangers the personal safety of others can be jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$2,500, or both.

Threatened to bomb hospital

According to Today, police initially combed the area for potential leads and checked if there was CCTV footage of the incident.

They eventually managed to identify Ong as the culprit as he previously threatened to bomb Sengkang Hospital, and he confessed when interviewed by the police.

Ong's lawyer explained that following his wife's death on May 6, 2019, he was upset at a nurse's alleged conflicting accounts about her death.

He then told a medical social worker on the phone that he wanted to bomb the hospital out of frustration and anger, reported ST.

The lawyer added that Ong's actions were due to grief over his wife's passing and that he is "fully cognisant" of the consequences of his actions now.

For threatening to bomb the hospital, Ong faces an additional charge which will be considered for sentencing on Jul. 21.

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