Hougang residents shocked by faeces thrown at flat

Madam Yeo Choon Lan has covered her grilles with a plastic sheet to prevent faeces flung at her unit from dirtying her windows.
PHOTO: The New Paper

For the past four months, housewife Yeo Choon Lan has kept her kitchen windows closed and covered with a large plastic sheet.

Although it is not pleasing to the eye, Madam Yeo said she has no choice in the matter.

Said the 66-year-old housewife, in Mandarin: "A neighbour upstairs has been throwing faeces from their kitchen and bathroom window. I cannot sleep well at night because I'm afraid that it will enter the room or even break my window."

Despite a report which appeared in Chinese evening newspaper Lianhe Wanbao on July 5, Madam Yeo's first-storey unit in Block 694, Hougang Street 61 has continued to be hit by the falling waste matter.

Her ordeal began in May, when she heard loud plopping noises outside her window at around 4am.

Madam Yeo said: "I was going to the toilet when I heard the sound of something hitting the window. I found excrement the next morning."

The onslaught was the worst in June, when she would hear faeces thrown three times a day.

"Excrement has fallen around 20 times (since May). It's a very foul smell and we are very distressed," said Madam Yeo, who lives with her husband, 69, and daughter, 40.

The issue has also hurt her relations with her neighbours, a 32-year-old woman and her mother who live on the third storey and whom Madam Yeo suspects are the culprits.

"Once, I saw the mother leaving the toilet shortly after some night soil had fallen," Madam Yeo said,

When Madam Yeo confronted them, they denied any involvement, but offered to pay for cleaners to clean her windows.

FRUSTRATED

When TNP visited the flat on the third storey, the mother insisted that Madam Yeo's accusations against her family were without basis.

The woman, who said her name was Madam Lim, 59, said in Mandarin: "She's spouting rubbish. It's the people upstairs, not us."

Other residents in the four-storey HDB block said they were disturbed but resigned to the situation.

A neighbour on the third storey told TNP: "It's very gross, I don't dare go to the back where the faeces is."

Madam Yeo filed three police reports between June and September.

In response to her latest report two weeks ago, a police spokesman said they would not be investigating and had advised Madam Yeo on seeking legal recourse. She has also complained to her Member of Parliament Gan Thiam Poh and the National Environment Agency (NEA).

When contacted, Mr Gan said: "I informed NEA. They installed mobile surveillance cameras to catch the culprit that I personally saw a few weeks ago. We assure residents that we will not take it lightly and that high-rise littering is not acceptable."

An NEA spokesman said that following the 13 complaints it had received from July to August, NEA and the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council conducted 18 joint inspections and stakeouts at the affected unit and distributed educational material to warn residents.

"Surveillance cameras were installed from July 16 to 26 to assist our investigations, but no acts of high-rise littering of faeces were observed... NEA will re-deploy the camera if the problem recurs," he said.

But the situation was unchanged when The New Paper visited last Tuesday. Nine pieces of excrement were found on the floor and walls outside Madam Yeo's home. Aside from more flies and ants, the excrement remained untouched when TNP visited again last Wednesday.

LAWYERS WEIGH IN

If charged, the culprit caught throwing faeces can face a fine not exceeding $1,000, said Mr Justin Tan, an associate lawyer at Trident Law Corporation.

To initiate action, Madam Yeo will have to pay $20 to file a Magistrate's Complaint, he said.

The guilty party can then be charged under the Environmental Public Health Act.

Mr Tan said: "The court will issue a notice for the person throwing excrement to attend court. They can then go through mediation or the victim can apply for the person to be charged."

However, if the faeces enters Madam Yeo's compound, the offender can be charged under the Protection from Harassment Act, said lawyer Lim Kia Tong.

"The magistrate can order the police to investigate," said Mr Lim.


This article was first published on Sept 28, 2015.
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