Company says duo were 'freelancers'

CAUGHT: Madam Valerie Sim will be charged by the NEA.

SINGAPORE - The two people caught for collecting waste oil from grease traps in Jurong will be charged by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

An NEA spokesman said they will press charges against the pair for three cases of illegal cleaning of grease traps last month.

For collecting waste oil from grease traps without a proper licence, offenders can be fined up to $2,000.

After investigations, NEA found that they were collecting waste oil illegally to be processed into biodiesel.

The two - Madam Valerie Sim, 50, and Mr Ng Cheng Hock, 48 - were questioned over their activities by NEA officers on Monday.

But in an interview with The New Paper on Tuesday, the pair claim that they have been working for Sky-Land (Oils & Fats), a general waste collector licensed by NEA, for the past six months.

The company's director, who declined to be named, however, said that the two were not his employees but were freelancers.

He said that the company had only bought waste oil from the pair and did not pay them a salary.

"I met them a few times only. They collected the oil themselves and we just buy it from them," he said.

The director said the company had rented a lorry to Madam Sim and Mr Ng "as they needed the vehicle to collect oil".

He emphasised that the company was not aware of how they went about collecting the waste oil.

But Madam Sim denied paying any rent for the lorry, saying that the company had provided it to them to collect oil.

Madam Sim, a divorcee, questioned: "If I wasn't working for them, then how did I get the lorry?"

TNP had earlier reported that Madam Sim has not worked from around Feb 20, when pictures on citizen journalism website Stomp alerted authorities to their activities.

She has two sons - a secondary school student, 13, and an ITE student, 19 - and they live in a one -room flat in Taman Jurong.

Mr Ng, who has since found a new job, said: "I just want to forget about this whole incident."

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