Singapore youth gets 15 months' probation for buying replica guns online to resell

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network):: A tertiary student bought 19 replica guns from online shopping platform Taobao, with the intention of keeping or reselling them.

Tan Yan Rong, 20, was sentenced to 15 months' probation on Wednesday (Aug 10) after pleading guilty last month to a charge under the Arms and Explosives Act. Another charge under the Act was taken into consideration during sentencing.

As part of his probation, Tan has to remain indoors from 10pm to 6am every day, subject to national service obligations. He also has to perform 60 hours of community service.

His parents are also bonded for S$5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhas Malhotra previously told the court that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) reported to the police on Sept 7, 2020, that it had detected four sets of airsoft guns while conducting an operation at Lam Soon Industrial Building in Hillview Avenue.

In the course of investigations, a consignment note containing Tan's address was found along with three plastic toy rifles and a plastic toy revolver inside a container.

Tan was arrested on suspicion of having committed offences under the Arms and Explosives Act on the same day ICA made the report.

At about 10pm that day, the 19 replica guns were found in Tan's home and seized.

Among them were a plastic toy replica MP5 rifle and a plastic toy replica submachine gun, both of which are battery-operated and spring-powered, and capable of shooting 8mm water-absorbent pellets.

All 19 guns were assessed by ST Engineering Synthesis to be capable of shooting the pellets and thus are "arms" as defined in the Arms and Explosive Act, said Mr Suhas.

Noting that Tan was not authorised to possess the guns, the DPP added: "The accused purchased such toy replica guns either to keep or to resell to local buyers via the online sales platform Carousell.

"If the latter, the accused would deliver the purchased items to the buyer in person, and accept cash on delivery or payment via PayNow."

Tan admitted to buying toy replica guns online from around 2018 or 2019 until a couple of weeks before his arrest.

Some records retrieved by investigators from his WeChat and Taobao logs showed he had at least five customers from March to September 2020 to whom he had sold at least 16 toy replica guns and accompanying accessories.

Each gun was sold for between $100 and $620.

In a written mitigation plea, Tan's lawyers Josephus Tan, Cory Wong and Josiah Zee from Invictus Law Corporation said he is academically inclined and had done well in polytechnic. He had also been invited to apply for early admission to Singapore Management University to pursue a software engineering degree.

According to the mitigation, Tan will be enlisting for national service on Thursday.

The lawyers added: "Admittedly, what Yan Rong had done is foolish. He had wanted to earn extra money to ease the financial burden on his parents.

"Unable to find a part-time job that suits his schedule without affecting his studies, he decided to do what he did, and he now knows that what he did was wrong."

Tan could have been jailed for up to three years and fined up to $5,000.

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Singapore , court , online , replica , guns , Taobao


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