NEA acts against unlicensed trade fair in Hougang

THE National Environment Agency (NEA) has acted against another unlicensed trade fair organised by the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) earlier this month.

The agency has applied for a court summons against the council for the fair at Hougang Central Hub, as it had not obtained the licence required under the Environmental Public Health Act.

NEA added that four stallholders were also served with Notices to Attend Court for hawking without a licence.

An NEA spokesman told The Straits Times: "AHPETC has continued to blatantly break the law and wilfully exposed their tenants to legal action."

Stallholders said that after the festive fair started on Jan 9, NEA officers visited the site - which is in front of Hougang Mall - in the first and second week to issue warning letters to the town council.

Then on Tuesday night, officers from NEA visited again to issue more summonses.

"The NEA officers came at about 10pm on Tuesday and told me not to operate. I told him to let us operate till Jan 30, but he said we can't do so without a licence," said stallholder Goh Kwee Leng, 63.

"He then issued me a summons and said that if I did not pay the fine, I would have to attend court on Feb 18."

He added that AHPETC officers were present that night and told them they would help to settle the matter.

"So we handed the summonses to them and continued with the business... But NEA officers showed up again today and issued two more summonses to two workers."

Mr Goh said he and three workers were each issued a fine of $300.

This is not the first time AHPETC has run into trouble with NEA. Last month, a trade fair approved by AHPETC had to stop its operations because its organiser had failed to get a relevant licence from the agency.

NEA said that between 2011 and this month, it had taken operators to court for operating a fair without a valid licence on 15 occasions.

Eleven operators have since been fined amounts up to $800, with the remaining four pending court mentions. These fairs were located at Tampines, Toa Payoh, Simei, Clementi, Kovan City, Bukit Merah, Kampong Glam, Chinatown and Tanglin Halt.

There are currently 28 approved fairs in operation islandwide, three of which are located in the Aljunied/Hougang area.


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