As a wise man once said: “owe money pay money”—or rather: “O$P$”.

If you said it to a colleague, they might look at you with confused eyes before remembering the cai fan money they owe you the day they forgot to bring cash.

If you sprayed this wise saying on someone’s property, you will suddenly owe money to the government and need to pay money to the government. You may also be invited to stay in a Changi “resort” for free for a few years.

As restaurant manager Ismail Didih Ibrahim learnt.

Man Committed Vandalism and Arson at Former Wife’s House

Ismail, 36, divorced from his wife of two years in 2019, and remained unhappy with his former spouse, according to The Straits Times

Instead of continuing with his own life like a decent man would, however, Ismail decided to drive to his former wife’s house on 12 May last year with a spray can of black paint and a half-filled bottle.

After ascertaining no one was watching, he sprayed “O$P$” on the property like a loan shark, even though the family had not borrowed money from illegal lenders and Ismail himself wasn’t working for one.

Is it fun to be mistaken for a loan shark?

Ismail then threw a Molotov cocktail—a bottle of flammable liquid with a burning rag wick—at the house, lighting a fire on the property when the bottle smashed. 

Probably the only time free cocktails are not welcomed. Now he’s officially worse than a loan shark.

He then fled the scene, wearing a raincoat throughout the process of the crime to disguise himself. A neighbour promptly spotted and extinguished the fire, but about S$6,000 in damage had already been inflicted. 

The victim’s family was then informed and the police informed, leading to Ismail’s arrest and guilty plea to committing an act of mischief by fire.

But that’s just the cherry on top of the cake.

Because he committed his offense during the circuit breaker period, he was also charged under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

Clearly, the raincoat didn’t work.

No one sustained physical injuries during the attack—the family was gathering in an upper floor safe from the fire—but Ismail’s former wife was traumatised by the incident and is undergoing counselling. 

The family also installed surveillance systems around their house at a cost of about S$600, not feeling safe following the sudden attack.

Ismail’s former wife has since received S$5,000 from him in voluntary restitution, in addition to naming three charities to which he will donate S$3,000. 

These may be mitigating factors when he is sentenced on 21 June, for an offence that carries a maximum prison term of seven years. 

Currently, Ismail is out on a S$20,000 bail.

Feature Image: Donte Tatum /

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