Rat infestation earns eatery suspension, fine

Rat infestation earns eatery suspension, fine
A rat trap behind Kim San Leng Food Centre in Bishan.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

In 43 visits spanning nine months, Aardwolf Pestkare Singapore, a pest control company hired by Kim San Leng Food Centre, a popular coffee shop in Bishan Street 13, caught 44 rats on the premises.

But the problem persisted.

And after accumulating 12 demerit points for failing to keep the premises free from rats, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said it will suspend the coffee shop's licence for a day on Friday.

The coffee shop has 10 food stalls and one drink stall.

The place will be thoroughly cleaned on that day.

Apart from rat infestation, it also accumulated four more demerit points for failure to deposit refuse into refuse bins lined with plastic bags.

Mr Patrick Chong, 56, managing director of Aardwolf Pestkare Singapore, told The New Paper: "We intensified our visits to the hawker centre from March to June and September to December last year. If there are rats, we will keep going down.

"Now the situation is under control. We caught only one rat last month."

In May last year, active rodent burrows found in the bushes outside the coffee shop were destroyed, he said.

Mr Alfred Hoon, 34, manager of Kim San Leng Food Centre, told The New Paper: "We will lose $100,000 from closing the place to allow the clean-up to take place.

"We can try to minimise the number of rats in the area, but it cannot be completely solved. I don't think the clean-up will do much to resolve the problem."


He explained that as the coffee shop is in an open area, rats can still enter from the back and the side.

Using nets in front of the shops also doesn't help, he said.

A vendor from Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee, who did not wish to be named, said: "We have no choice but to close for a day, but it is not really a big deal to us."

Another vendor from Ming Ji Chicken Rice, who also did not wish to be named, said that the shutdown would give them a day off.

When TNP visited the hawker centre yesterday during lunch time, it was bustling with customers. There were several pigeons but no rats.

Customers told TNP that they had not seen any rats on the premises before.

Miss Amanda Low, 18, who works at Junction 8, said: "I come to the hawker centre thrice a week just for the chicken rice. I would not stop coming here just because of the rat infestation."

An employee from SKP, a shop which sells partyware, food packaging and stationery, who also did not wish to be named, said: "There will be rats everywhere in Singapore, but I don't think the problem here is serious."

The NEA released a statement on its website stating that the main operator has accumulated 16 demerit points over the last 12 months and will be fined a total of $1,100.

It added: "NEA takes a serious view of these offences and would like to remind food operators to observe good food and personal hygiene practices at all times and to engage only registered food handlers."


This article was first published on Jan 18, 2017.
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