SINGAPORE - SingPost has been fined $30,000 - its largest - for losing 400 to 500 letters in a fiasco last year involving the theft of a mail trolley.
The theft on Sept 5 took place at Block 734 in Woodlands Circle. The letters were meant to be delivered to six blocks of flats in Woodlands.
A female postal worker had left her mail trolley unattended while she used a bathroom three blocks away. When she returned after about 10 minutes, the trolley was missing.
SingPost had said that the worker did not take the postal items with her as it was raining heavily and she did not want them to get wet.
The mail was never recovered nor has anyone been arrested for the theft.
The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said the loss was a breach of SingPost's public postal licensee conditions, which require it to minimise the risk of loss, theft and damage to letters.
"SingPost's measures and procedures to safeguard mail integrity were found to be lacking," IDA said. Since the incident, SingPost has issued its 1,200-strong postal delivery team with new lockable, water-resistant canvas mailbags.
The new mailbags are meant to be placed in the existing trolleys and can be secured with a lock and chain.
Before, there was no standardised carrier, and postal items were sometimes placed directly into trolleys that were not secured.
IDA considered these enhancements as mitigating factors when deciding on the amount of the fine.
"IDA takes a serious view of SingPost's obligations as a public postal licensee in its provision of basic postal service and that SingPost continues to ensure mail security and integrity moving forward," said Mr Leong Keng Thai, IDA's deputy chief executive and director-general (Telecoms and Post).
The Sept 5 incident was the first time a mail trolley had been stolen, although mail had been left unattended in the past. In June last year, it was reported that a bundle of letters had been left unattended at a void deck in Toa Payoh, with a note attached telling residents not to touch it and that a postman would return for it later.
SingPost said then that the postman had a heavy workload that day due to the haze. As his storage box was full, he did not take all the mail with him to the next block. Disciplinary action was taken against him.
This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.
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