Who would ever have imagined that a toothpick would put a man’s freedom in jeopardy.

But that is exactly what is playing out in a low-crime city state of Singapore.

A 60-year-old Singaporean man is under investigation for inserting toothpicks into a seat on a public bus.

Police say it is a suspected case of "mischief" that could put him behind bars for up to 2 years.

"Through extensive inquiries and with the assistance of CCTV footage, officers ... established the identity of the suspect," a police statement said.

Pictures of 3 toothpicks sticking up from the seat were posted last month by a Facebook user, who said she noticed them just as she was about to sit.

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"Remember to check your seat next time before sitting, guys!" she wrote. The post was shared more than 2,500 times.

Singapore, a wealthy city-state, has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. However, one of the government's public information slogans is: "Low crime doesn't mean no crime". It brings to mind the need to watch your back if you are in the nation.

Authorities come down hard on minor crimes such as vandalism, which is punishable by caning, and the import of chewing gum is banned, in part to keep public spaces clean.

The police said investigations into the case of the toothpicks were continuing. The offense of mischief carries a punishment of imprisonment for up to 2 years or a fine, or both.