Man fined for leaving white flour at Woodleigh MRT station

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A 69-year-old man who used flour to mark a trail for a running route which included Woodleigh MRT station and caused a security scare was given the maximum fine of $1,000 yesterday for public nuisance.

Tay Yong Kwang (above) admitted to causing annoyance to the public by leaving white flour at multiple locations in and around the station in Upper Serangoon Road between noon and 1pm on April 18, 2017.

More than 100 security personnel were deployed to deal with the security scare. The station was closed for more than three hours, affecting more than 1,000 commuters, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tang Shangjun.

He pushed for the maximum fine, saying this was one of the worst cases of public nuisance thus far.

"He left white powder around the public transport facility. It is reasonable to conclude that members of the public, station staff and security personnel would be fearful that there is something more sinister to it than just being flour alone," he said.

The DPP said there has been constant publicity in the local media on the need for the public to be on the lookout for suspicious substances or items, and how to identify them.

White powder clearly falls in the category of suspicious substances, he added.

The court heard that Tay was a member of a running club called the Seletar Hash House Harriers, which organises runs every Tuesday for about 30 people over an 8km-route.

Each week, the run route would change, and it would be decided by someone assigned to be the "Hare" for the week. The Hare has the task of planning the running route and marking out the route, using materials such as paper, chalk and flour.