Ralph Wee Yi Kai, 19, was caught on video on December 17 last year doing a backflip inside a white rhinoceros enclosure before leaping over a barricade back onto the visitor walking path at the Singapore Zoo. The clip was captioned “keep your distance” and “who’s man is this”.
While it seems proposterous, this isn’t the first time someone’s actually entered an animal enclosure illegally. This year alone in the USA, a father trespassed into the San Diego Zoo’s elephant exhibit while carrying his 2-year-old daughter in March, while a woman trespassed into El Paso Zoo in Texas to feed the spider monkey exhibit in May. In Singapore, the last case of trespassing into an animal exhibit was in 2008, when a 32-year old man jumped into the white tiger enclosure and was killed in front of shocked onlookers.
Charged with more than trespass
Ralph was charged in a district court on Monday (July 12), accused of one count of criminal trespass, but the backflip wasn’t the only crime he was guilty of. He was accused of two counts of mischief (vandalism):
Vandalism at bus stop: Ralph allegedly damaged an information panel at a bus stop in Sixth Avenue (off Bukit Timah Road) on Oct 9 last year, causing $900 in damage.
Vandalism of cars: He’s also accused of causing damage to two cars at the nearby Sixth Crescent that morning. He apparently hit their side mirrors, causing nearly $2,800 in damage to a Mercedes Benz and more than $1,600 in damage to a BMW.
Ralph’s companion, an 18-year-old woman who was issued a stern warning for abetting criminal tresspass, was the one filming him. This attention-seeking youth then uploaded the clip onto his TikTok account ralphwee_, which had about 33,000 followers at the time, but it has since been taken down.
According to CNA, Ralph’s Instagram account name is ralphwee_. A peak into his Instagram account reveals an athletic Ralph who’s into boxing, rugby, and skiing, and also travels frequently, showing his privileged upbringing. Many on social media have commented on his upbringing and his need for attention.
His bail was set at $15,000, and his case has been adjourned to Aug 16. Criminal trespass is punishable by jail time of up to three months and a fine of up to $1,500. For vandalism, the punishment is a fine of up to $2,000 or jail term of up to three years and between three and eight strokes of the cane. For each count of mischief, offenders can be jailed for up to a year and fined.