An angry man fired by his company locked up nine people he worked with in the office. Fifty-two-year-old Vict Lim Siong Hock bought a padlock at a hardware store and secured the main door — the only entrance to his former workplace — in September last year. He believed his former colleagues would be on lunch breaks, leaving the premises unattended. Sadly, he was mistaken. Within ten minutes of locking the door, one of his former coworkers attempted to exit for restroom use and discovered that the outside door had been locked. He informed his trapped colleagues, who then alerted the company, according to Channel News Asia (CNA).
The company called the police, and the incident was filmed on CCTV. When the police arrived, Lim was seen holding the door keys and yelling at his former colleagues through a glass window. Angry over his firing, Lim broke into the office and stole over $37,000 worth of merchandise, including spectacle frames and computer components. He also vandalized the company’s windows. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to one count of wrongful confinement, with an additional charge of sending an abusive message to a former colleague taken into consideration.
He also faces three charges of criminal mischief and one of unauthorized possession of stolen property, the police said. The case will be heard next month.
Besides the firing of Lim, several other incidents have recently involved public workers in Singapore. In February, an activist was fined 3,000 Singapore dollars ($2,250) for standing at the State Courts building’s main entrance, a prohibited area, with a piece of paper that read “Drop defamation case against Terry Xu and Daniel De Costa” printed on it and getting photographed by another person. He then posted the photo on his public Facebook account.
In April, a man who was a prison officer was charged for allegedly using his position to persuade a convict to extort money from his family members. The case was filed by the National Crime Agency’s cyber division. The prosecutor argued that the convict could manipulate the victim in his care to take advantage of her.
The incident comes as the country grapples with rising anti-Chinese sentiment due to tensions over trade, the coronavirus pandemic, and a new security law in Hong Kong that the United States says is aimed at curbing terrorism. In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the incident was “deeply shocking and distressing.” He added that recent events went against what Singapore stands for. “The government will take a firm stance against racism,” he wrote. In the same post, he vowed to work towards “a more inclusive and cohesive society.”