'Cooking smell' probe in Yishun flat: HDB finds no wrongdoing after complaint over alleged illegal food catering

A service card left by Housing Board staff at the rental flat, telling the flat occupant to call a Housing Board officer, citing only "cooking smell" as the reason.
PHOTO: Facebook/All Singapore Stuff

SINGAPORE - A Housing Board inspection at a rental flat in Yishun due to complaints of a "cooking smell" was prompted by allegations that it was being used for illegal food catering operations, the board clarified on Friday (Oct 11).

Last Thursday, Facebook user Aspa M Hatta posted a photo of a service card left by HDB staff at the rental flat on the same day. The slip told the flat occupant to call an HDB officer, citing only "cooking smell" as the reason.

Replying to queries by The Straits Times on the matter, HDB said on Friday that its inspection also found no indication of food catering activities in the flat.

The flat involved is at Block 461B Yishun Avenue 6, and is understood to be rented to the female cousin of the Facebook user.

The user, who wanted to be known only as Mr Aspa, told ST last Thursday: "We were quite shocked when we saw the slip. My cousin had not been home in the past few days. Now we are hesitant to even cook instant noodles."

The 38-year-old library stocktaker said he later found out that a report filed against the unit was based on a neighbour providing photos of him and his cousin allegedly providing illegal catering services.

Mr Aspa said: "We are a small time home-based caterer, but we do not cook orders at the unit."

HDB said on Friday that it received the complaint on Sept 25 and proceeded to investigate because cooking food for catering services is prohibited in HDB flats.

It said: "We understand from the tenant that while she does run a small-scale food catering business, the cooking activities are carried out at another location, and not in the rental flat."

HDB added it would not be taking action against the tenant of the flat.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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