Man apologises to families of WWII victims for wakeboarding at Civilian War Memorial, fined $4,000

·Editorial Team
·2 min read
Stephan Kovalkov, a Singaporean, was fined for wakeboarding at Civilian War Memorial. (SCREENSHOTS: Malvin Fang/Facebook)
Stephan Kovalkov, a Singaporean, was fined for wakeboarding at Civilian War Memorial. (SCREENSHOTS: Malvin Fang/Facebook)

SINGAPORE – A man who performed a “wall slide” while wakeboarding at the Civilian War Memorial was fined $4,000 on Friday (12 November), according to a report by CNA.

Stephan Kovalkov, a 24-year-old Singaporean, was convicted on one count of wilfully interfering with a national monument under the Preservation of Monuments Act, in the first such offence committed in Singapore, the report said.

The court heard that Singapore-born Kovalkov, who had served his full-time national service, and four accomplices were driving around Singapore for a wakeboarding spot on 17 July this year. Kovalkov wanted to take a video of himself wakeboarding at "unique areas" in Singapore.

His accomplices are Ekaterina Utkina, a 24-year-old Russian national and Singapore permanent resident; William Bryn Vaughan, 20-year-old British national; Mustafa Sheikh Abdul Sattar San'ani Sheikh, a 19-year-old Singaporean; and Clarence Aloysious Batchelor, an 18-year-old Singaporean. It is unclear if the accomplices are under investigation.

In a viral video posted on Facebook, Kovalkov is seen strapping himself to a wakeboard and wearing a helmet, before he skis across the water at the Civilian War Memorial. Executing the move five times, he is also seen performing a move known as a “wall slide” and bouncing off the wall at the memorial.

Seeking a fine of between $3,000 and $5,000, Deputy Public Prosecutor Koh Mun Keong said the memorial is of "monumental significance” to Singapore and Singaporeans.

"It was constructed in memory of one of the defining tragedies in our nation's history. It contains actual remains of the victims of World War II and symbolises the shared suffering of Singapore's four main ethnic groups during the war," Koh said, according to the report.

Kovalkov’s lawyer Noor Mohamed Marican said his client "truly and genuinely meant no disrespect".

Through his lawyer, Kovalkov apologised to the people of Singapore, and the relatives and loved ones of the WWII victims.

Kovalkov could have been jailed up to six months, fined a maximum $30,000, or both for wilfully interfering with a national monument.

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