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Art specialist who installed iconic kinetic rain sculpture at Changi Airport jailed for headbutting police officer

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The art specialist who installed the iconic kinetic rain sculpture at Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 was sentenced to a jail term of three months, this Wednesday, for headbutting a local police officer.

The 27-year-old art specialist, German national Markus Spalteholz, was in town to install another kinetic sculpture – “Petalclouds” at the soon-to-be-opened Terminal 4 – in April this year.

On the 29th of April, Special Operations Command (SOC) police officers who were responding to a report of “damaging property and molestation” found Spalteholz pinned on the ground by bouncers outside The Pump Room, at River Valley Road.

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The bouncers claimed that Spalteholz had behaved violently earlier. Spalteholz resisted as the police officers proceeded to place him in a rear wrist lock, and even threatened two officers, saying: “I will find you, and I remember your face.”

Spalteholz continued shouting repeatedly and was subsequently arrested for disorderly behaviour when he refused to stop. When one officer, 20-year-old Special Constabulary Sgt Nu’man Shariff Mohidin, knelt in front of Spalteholz to find out his particulars, Spalteholz reportedly broke free.

Spalteholz struck his hand out towards the officers and hit Sgt Nu’man’s chin and arms. He was subsequently apprehended and handcuffed but refused to get in the police car.

As 26-year-old Sergeant Lim Zi Sheng tried to manoeuvre Spalteholz’s legs into the police vehicle, Spalteholz headbutted the officer on the right side of his head, causing him to suffer a “non-tender slight right frontal scalp swelling.”

Spalteholz was intoxicated at the time of the incident. In pleading for leniency, Spalteholz’s lawyer Darshan Singh reported that his clinet had several beers that night and was injured during a brawl with an unidentified man, which caused him to be disoriented and distressed with reduced inhibitions and awareness.

Singh added that Spalteholz had arrived on April 19 and had been working tirelessly to install “Petalcloud” at T4, asserting that the art specialist is likely to lose his job.

While Singh pleaded for a one month jail term, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Ong argued for at least four months jail to be imposed.

She argued that such offences are becoming increasingly prevalent and that any attack on a public servant exercising his duties cannot be condoned. Such offences must be met with a stiff deterrent sentence, she asserted.

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