Man chopped down papaya tree thinking it was 'possessed by spirts'

·Senior Reporter
·2 min read
A papaya tree. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
A papaya tree. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Believing a papaya tree in Lorong 4 Toa Payoh to be possessed by evil spirits, a 59-year-old man took a chopper from his kitchen and cut the tree down, a court heard.

Shortly after, Ang Say Chee confronted a stray cat feeder by pointing the chopper at her. 

At the State Courts on Friday (7 May), Ang, now 60, was jailed for three weeks having earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal intimidation.

Two other charges were considered in sentencing: mischief for chopping down the tree which was under the care of Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council, and committing a rash act endangering the personal safety of others by using a candle to burn a red cloth hung on the gate of a HDB flat near his home on a separate occasion.

About the case

On 6 August 2019, Ang chopped the upper half of the large papaya tree. 

A resident who was about to feed a stray cat nearby heard the tree falling. She looked up and saw Ang walking towards her.

Ang snatched the container of cat biscuits that she was holding, causing it to fall to the ground. He then said "dirty, dirty" and told the victim that he wanted to call for the police. She told him that she would wait for them to arrive.

At one point, Ang raised the chopper above his head and pointed it towards the victim's head. He also told her that he was unhappy that she was feeding the neighbourhood cats.

Alarmed, the victim hid behind a pillar while Ang went to sit on a stone bench nearby and talked to himself. He also threw the chopper into a rubbish bin.

The victim then called the police and Ang was arrested the same day.

For criminal intimidation, Ang could have been jailed for up to two years along with a fine.

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