In the first known case of its kind, two Rogue Bus Enthusiasts have been apprehended by law enforcement agencies for their suspected involvement in the theft of bus property. The accused duo, Clement Tan Ke Wei and Peter Low Chuan Hao, are 21 and 25 years old respectively.
Tan, whose full name was not disclosed in the news, has since been sentenced to 24 months probation for sexual penetration of a minor, sexual exploitation of a child, stealing ez-link card readers and preventing the course of justice.
Initial Theft of Bus Readers
The following article was published in the Shin Min Daily News (新明日报) on Friday, 6 March 2015 (Page 4).
Translated into English:
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, two men were apprehended this morning [6 Mar 2015] for the trespassing of a bus depot and the subsequent theft of five ez-link card readers. The incidents of theft occurred this year, between the 21st and the 24th of January at an SMRT Bus Depot.
According to the police, the depot recorded a loss of 5 contactless card readers, stolen from 5 different buses over the course of four days. The readers were found to be missing before the bus drivers started their shifts. It is believed that the culprits trespassed into the bus depot and entered the buses to remove the card readers when nobody was noticing. This incident of a ez-link reader theft is the first of its kind in Singapore.
After receiving reports of missing ez-link card readers, an investigation was launched by the Jurong Police Division and the Public Transport Security Command, which led to the apprehension a 21-year old male and a 25-year old male, on 04 Feb 2015.
The two suspects, Tan Ke Wei and Low Chuan Hao, have been charged for theft this morning. The maximum penalty for the offence is 3 years jail, a fine, or both.
There have been various recent incidents of trespassing at various train depots in Singapore, and with this newly surfaced case of the trespass of a bus depot, security of public transport depots is back under the spotlight.
For trespassing, the duo could face a maximum penalty of 3 years jail, a fine of $1500, or both.
Two suspects are bus enthusiasts
The two males convicted of the theft of the card readers are understood to be bus enthusiasts. They frequently post bus-related media on Facebook, and express their opinions regarding different bus models, etc.
On a Facebook post dated 8th February, Tan Ke Wei had indicated that he had been the subject of accusation for the theft of bus route number plates, which he denies. Another photo of a self-made cash-collecting equipment (“coinbox”) had gathered over 20 ‘likes’.
In a continuation to the above mentioned story, the following article was published in the Shin Min Daily News (新明日报) on Saturday, 7 March 2015 (Page 4).
Translated into English:
First of its kind – More about the 2 men convicted for theft of EZ-Link Readers
Service 81 Destination Plate For $30, Bus Bell For $8
Bus Enthusiast Sells Bus Parts Online
There were apparent bus enthusiasts running a Facebook page conducting the sales of bus service number plates, bells and other bus-related items. When the recent case of theft came to light, the Facebook page was disbanded and closed.
As mentioned in yesterday’s article, the accused duo Tan Ke Wei (19) and Low Chuan Hao (25) were believed to be bus enthusiasts. Between the 21st and the 24th of January, they had stolen 5 CEPAS contactless card readers from 5 different buses at an SMRT Bus Depot. They were charged for theft yesterday.
Our research has indicated that there were bus enthusiasts selling bus route number plates, bus bells and other bus parts. Facebook data indicated that the bus enthusiast page involved, “CLAWED Transport”, was formed on 23 December 2012. The Facebook page also showcased bus components such as bus seats, emergency hammers, and various electronic, plastic, acrylic and metal bus route destination plates.
Our reporter had also found a seller on Carousell (an online selling platform) named “CLAWED Transport”, selling bus bells and destination plates. Among their listed items, a bus bell was for sale at $8 while a Service 81 route destination plate was selling at $30. The seller also claimed that there was only one service 81 destination plate for sale, and although in poor condition, additionally mentioned that the product would look better after cleaning.
Our newspaper publication declines to comment on the members of “CLAWED Transport”, their actions and the products that they sell online. It also appears that they are aware of the recent theft of EZ Link card readers.
However, our reporters noticed that “CLAWED Transport” announced over their Facebook page that they have ceased operations until further notice at 8.30am today. This was followed by another post at 11:20am mentioning the disbanding of the page.
Lawyer: Custom-produced items not illegal
According to Lawyer Tan, the selling of merchandise by bus enthusiasts was not illegal if they were self-produced items. However, if these items were acquired through unlawful means, then their actions could be constituted as theft.
He also pointed out that buyers should be alert when purchasing merchandise claimed to be made by bus enthusiasts themselves. The onus is on buyers to verify the origin of such products to prevent themselves from being implicated with the purchase of stolen goods.
Crime commited at Woodlands Depot
According to sources, the incident happened on 18 January 2015 at around 11:30pm, where the two men stole the EZ-Link card readers worth $1000 from a bus depot in Woodlands. We believe that the aforementioned depot is Woodlands Bus Depot, currently operated by SMRT Buses.
As the duo entered the bus depot without permission, they could also be charged with trespassing. If convicted guilty, the offence carries a maximum of a 3 months jail term, or a fine up to $1500, or both.
The hearing scheduled on 20th March 2015, 9:00am, was adjourned to 2nd April 2015, 9:30am.
Sentencing of Tan Ke Wei – as reported by TNP
Clement Tan Ke Wei was sentenced to 24 months’ probation for the theft offence on top of more serious offences, like sexual penetration of a minor, sexual exploitation of a child, and preventing the course of justice.
HE PREYED ON BOYS AND STOLE EZ-LINK CARD READERS — ITE STUDENT GETS 24 MONTHS’ PROBATION FOR SEX OFFENCES AND THEFT
The New Paper – Oct 9, 2015. 6:00am.
An Institute of Technical Education student was yesterday given 24 months’ probation for sexual penetration of a minor, sexual exploitation of a child, stealing ez-link card readers and preventing the course of justice.
A District Court heard yesterday that Tan, 19, committed the sex offences in 2013. He got to know the first victim, then 13 years old, through a mobile dating application for gay men, sometime in August 2013. Tan invited the boy to his home in Sengkang, and while they were in his bedroom, Tan asked the boy to perform oral sex on him, and the boy agreed. Between September and October that year, Tan invited the boy to his home again. This time, he suggested having anal sex, to which the boy again agreed.
Later that year, Tan got to know a second boy through Transport Enthusiasts, a public transport interest group. Tan invited the boy, then 12, to his home in Sengkang, where Tan masturbated him.
Earlier this year, Tan was also involved in stealing at least two ez-link card readers from buses with an accomplice, Low Chuan Hao, 25. Low is being dealt with separately.
On Jan 15, Tan and Low boarded SMRT Bus Service 300 from Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange at about 11pm. As the bus was travelling along its route, Low handed Tan a cutter and an allen key so he could remove the ez-link card reader while Low acted as a lookout. Tan managed to pull the reader out without using any tools and handed it to Low, who put the reader into his haversack.
Later that month, on Jan 27, Tan and Low struck another SMRT bus, Service 192 (error in article, should have been Service 912) from Woodlands Bus Interchange, at about 10.20pm. With Low acting as a lookout, Tan managed to remove the card reader from its holder, before passing it to Low, who kept it in his haversack. After he was caught for his offences, police raided Tan’s home on March 4 and found four ez-link card readers.
Later that month, he met one of the boys he had committed a sex act against and asked that he write a “confession” for the police. In it, the boy was made to accuse Low of committing the sexual offences, adding that Low forced him to pin the blame on Tan.
Tan’s lawyer, Ms Alice Tan of the CLAS Fellowship, told the court that her client is a public transport enthusiast who often volunteers for SMRT community events. One such instance of this was assisting with crowd control during the SMRT breakdowns earlier this year. Furthermore, she claimed that Tan had been misled by Low, a security officer. As for the sexual offences, he had fallen prey to curiosity and was remorseful about what he did.
District Judge Luke Tan noted that since Tan is still young, he was willing to give him a second chance, but he would need the support of his mother. She has been bonded $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour. “The only way you can go through (probation) is if you want to go through it. It’ll be the worst to fail when you are very close to your goals,” the judge said, adding that Tan would be hauled back to court should he breach probation conditions.
On top of having to attend a counselling programme and psychosexual treatment, Tan will have to stay indoors from 10pm to 6am.
Tan Ke Wei – A brief background
A black sheep in the bus enthusiast community, Clement Tan Ke Wei first attended Pei Hwa Secondary School under the Normal (Technical) stream, where he met his co-conspirator, Peter Low Chuan Hao. His father, working for SBS Transit as a Bus Captain, likely fueled his interest in buses.
As an ongoing project to turn his flat in Sengkang into a mock-up of an SBS Transit bus, he embarked on a long process of stealing items to display them in his flat, mostly from SBS Transit buses while on revenue service. Few items were spared from his theft spree. He commandeered items small to large, from hand grips, bells, speakers, air-conditioning vents and emergency glass hammers, to larger items like handle bars, seat cushions and upholstery (by pen-knifing seat covers for their fabric). Plastic route number plates (known as destos) from the smallest (for the rear of single-deck buses) to the largest (for the front of double-deck buses) were also stolen. All sorts of warning stickers were also peeled off and transferred to his home. Throughout the years, his misdeeds have resonated throughout the bus community, but bus operators found it difficult to put an end to his antics since he regularly struck on revenue service and damage done was usually discovered at the end of the day.
Tan Ke Wei’s most daring theft then was in 2010 that put him in the crosshairs of SMRT Buses. While onboard an SMRT Mercedes-Benz OC500LE (SMB51M) operating on Service 171, he stole the rear Electronic Display Signage of the bus by unscrewing the display unit from the metal frame and cutting off the connecting wires. It is an incident we believe he continues to deny up till today, and insufficient evidence failed to hold him responsible for the theft.
Attempt to censor PTSG:
On 21 October 2015, Clement Tan Ke Wei made an attempt to silence our website in the exposure of his misdeeds. Using his personal email account no less, he threatened legal action against our website and administrators if his full name was not removed from this article, quoting a gag order which did not exist:
Followed shortly afterwards was a message from ‘Alice Tan’ to our site, written in bad English and making similar demands. With the possibility that Clement Tan Ke Wei was impersonating as his lawyer, further email correspondence revealed that his threats were hollow, and indeed, was impersonating as his lawyer by using her personal email account to drop us a message.
External Links & References:
- Two arrested for stealing ez-link card readers from buses – The Straits Times
- ITE student preyed on boys and stole ez-link card readers – The New Paper
- CLAWED Transport – Facebook
- clawedtransport – Carousell