Any Singaporean guy who has served NS will tell you that ammunition is a serious business; if you are found with even an empty bullet casing, you can be charged and sent to the Detention Barracks (DB), which basically means you will spend time in military jail as the absolute lowest lifeform in Singapore. Yet, Second Sergeant Shanmugavel was fined $5000 instead of being sentenced to doing time in the DB for dishonest misappropriation of Singapore Armed Forces property.
Apparently, army regular 2SGT Shanmugavel had been given 400 blank rounds and some smoke grenades by his platoon sergeant for an exercise, which should have been distributed to his men. However, they were not used and after the exercise, Shanmugavel forgot about the backpack he had used to store all the ammunition. Since his superiors had already left for the weekend and he was late for a family meeting, he left the camp after keeping the ammunition in his foot locker, with the intent of telling his superiors when they return the following week.
Although this was the largest amount of ammunition ever misappropriated, the military court felt that there were exceptional grounds in this case – probably because Shanmugavel did not intentionally hide any of the ammunition or bring anything out of the camp. He was also supported by testimonials from his superiors, peers and subordinates, vouching for his character; his father and brother were also regulars in the army.
In fact, the military court of appeal even threw out an appeal by the military prosecutor to impose a detention sentence as the large amount of ammunition contained a substantial amount of gunpowder even though they were blanks, and were enough to cause public concern if they were brought out of the camp; they also felt that Shanmugavel had intentionally held on to the blanks.
Looks like another regular is destined to hentak kaki for a long time…