Updated: 05/09/2013 01:27 | By Agence France-Presse

Singapore artist who spray-painted roads spared jail term

A Singaporean artist was sentenced Wednesday to 240 hours of community service for spray-painting roads and a building wall in a case that sparked an online petition for leniency.

Singapore artist who spray-painted roads spared jail term

Singaporean artist Samantha Lo arriving at the Subordinate courts in Singapore on April 3, 2013. The artist, investigated by the police for vandalising public roads, was on May 8, sentenced in court to 240 hours of community service.

Samantha Lo, 26, had earlier pleaded guilty to seven counts of mischief for spray-painting six streets with the wording "MY GRANDFATHER ROAD" and a wall with "MY GRANDFATHER BUILDING" in May last year.

Mischief that causes loss or damage amounting to Sg$500 ($407) is punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine. The cost of removing the paint from the wall and repainting it totalled Sg$3,500, according to the charge sheet.

But Judge Christopher Goh said Lo had met a probation officer and was found suitable for community service.

Lo has not publicly disclosed the reasons for her actions. However, an online petition signed by over 15,000 people defended her actions as works of art.

Online users mostly cheered her being spared a jail term, with some criticising the government for being strict.

One user who posted on The Straits Times website said: "On the one hand, the country wants to promote the arts. On the other, street art is deemed as mischief or vandalism. What is it that we really want?"

Singapore has taken a tough stand against law and order offences.

American teenager Michael Fay made global headlines in 1994 when he was jailed and caned in Singapore for vandalising cars, despite a US appeal for clemency.

In 2010 a Swiss man was jailed and caned for vandalising a Singapore metro train.

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