SINGAPORE - An auxiliary police officer deployed to shoot and cull crows in Hougang risked injuring residents in the area when he fired a gun once despite knowing that nearby buildings were in his line of fire.
As a result, multiple shotgun pellets became lodged in the front door of a flat 23m away.
"If the pellets had hit a human body, they could have caused skin perforation and would have endangered the personal safety of other persons in the area," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Gail Wong.
The probability of a shotgun birdshot pellet causing a fatal wound is low, she also said.
Eric Kow, who worked for Certis Cisco, committed the offence on Feb 12 last year, when he was a lance corporal.
He was in a car with his then colleague, Joseph Goh Chin Peng, a part-time auxiliary police officer for the agency, when they spotted some crows in a tree near the Hougang block of flats at around 3.30pm.
They parked near the block and Kow alighted with a loaded shotgun, leaving his body-worn camera behind.
Goh, who was the safety officer and a corporal at the time, did not display warning signs and cordon off the area before the crow culling activity. He failed to clear the area of onlookers as well as redirect human and vehicular traffic.
The court also heard that he was not around when Kow fired the gun.
Kow, 23, a Malaysian, was sentenced on Wednesday (July 29) to four weeks' jail after pleading guilty to performing a rash act that could endanger the safety of others.
Goh, his 27-year-old Singaporean former colleague, pleaded guilty to abetting him in committing the offence. He was fined $2,500.
The two men were dismissed from service on April 15 last year.
The DPP told Senior District Judge Bala Reddy: "Neither Goh nor Kow deployed the warning sign or cordon as they knew was required as they did not want to alert the crows.
"However, as the officers knew the (body-worn camera) was recording, Kow told Goh to bring down the warning sign as a show for the recording device."
Goh did not deploy the warning sign. Instead, he continued to remain in the car despite knowing that as a safety officer, he was supposed to assist Kow by looking out for the safety of the public.
"Goh did so... because he did not want to alert the crows, as was his usual practice with Kow," said DPP Wong.
Kow then fired one shot and killed two crows before leaving the scene with their carcasses.
A birdshot shell has many pellets - small metal balls - that spread out when shot, making it easier to hit flying targets. It is used to kill small animals like birds.
The court heard that a woman was resting at home in a nearby flat when she heard a loud sound.
She later found multiple holes in her front door and metal pieces nearby. She then alerted the police.
DPP Wong said: "The irresistible conclusion is that the discharge of the shot by Kow... caused some metal pellets from the shot shell to become lodged in the wall and door of the affected unit."
No one was injured in the incident.
For committing a rash act that could endanger the personal safety of others, an offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $2,500.