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Singapore Investigating Man After Tooth Picks Found in Bus Seat

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A 60-year-old man in Singapore is under investigation for putting toothpicks into a seat on a public bus.

Police in Singapore are describing the incident as a suspected case of “mischief.”

Through extensive questioning and with the help of video evidence, “officers … established the identity of the suspect,' a police statement said this week.

The man could receive a two-year jail sentence if he is found guilty.

The Reuters news agency says pictures of three toothpicks sticking up from the bus seat were published on Facebook in July. A Facebook user said she saw the three small sticks just as she was preparing to sit down. She urged other users to look closely at their seat before sitting down. Her message was shared more than 2,500 times.

Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Yet one of the government’s public information signs reads, “Low crime doesn’t mean no crime.”

Judges are known for taking firm action against violators of minor crimes. Those found guilty of damaging or destroying property have been sentenced to canings -- beatings with a stick.

The wealthy city-state bans the import of chewing gum, in part, to keep public spaces clean.

Two years ago, a smoker was fined about $14,550 for throwing cigarette ends out of a window of his home.

The police said investigations into the case of the toothpicks were continuing. The crime carries a punishment of up to two years in jail, a fine or both.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. George Grow adapted the report for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

toothpick – n. an instrument for removing food particles trapped between teeth

mischief – n. a cause of damage, harm or evil

chewing gum – n. a sweetened, soft material that people bite on, but do not eat

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