NEA officer accused of hugging woman from behind gives different account of incident

SINGAPORE - The National Environment Agency (NEA) enforcement officer who was accused of hugging a woman from behind at Suntec City Tower 2 has given a different account of what happened on Jan 8.

According to a statement from the agency, the incident occurred as two officers were requesting for the 33-year-old woman's particulars in order to take enforcement action against her for smoking in a non-smoking area.

Subsequently, the enforcement officers requested police assistance, added the NEA. They did not provide further explanation as to why further assistance was required as the incident is currently under investigation by the police.

The officer accused of hugging the woman has since given an account of what happened to the police. NEA said in its statement that his account is different from what was alleged by the woman.

NEA said that they have strict protocols that guide their enforcement officers. This includes engagement and disengagement of offenders, as well as handling of situations where offenders try to escape.

The woman, who declined to be named, told Shin Min Daily News in a report on Jan 13 that she was approached by a man who claimed to be a NEA officer when she was having a smoke at around noon.

She had a cigarette in her mouth and was walking towards the smoking zone. The man asked for her identification but she said she did not have it with her. She proceeded to stub out her cigarette and tried to leave.

As she was heading to her office, she said another officer tried to block her way.

He also asked for her identification, which she ignored.

When she was about to enter a gantry at the office building, she told the Chinese evening daily that she felt someone hug her from behind.

After turning around, the woman realised it was the second alleged NEA officer she encountered.

She told Shin Min Daily News that he touched her chest and she felt humiliated by the incident.

The woman then tried to get away in a taxi but was stopped by the man, who was around 1.8m tall.

Her husband arrived at the scene later and they went to make a police report.

According to NEA's website, offenders caught smoking in a prohibited area can be fined from $200 to $1,000.