Punggol residents fear attack by macaques ‘sooner than later’, as monkeys steal from bakery and supermarket

Monkeys have been spotted 'hanging out' at residential areas in Punggol to search for food
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

After entering their neighbourhood to steal food and cause a nuisance, several residents in Punggol East are now worried that they would be attacked by the gang of brazen monkeys 'sooner than later'.

A troop of more than 10 long-tailed macaques have been seen intimidating passers-by at public walkways and bridges, Shin Min Daily News reported on Tuesday (July 12).

Believed to come from the nearby Coney Island, the primates have also been spotted 'hanging out' at residential areas to search for food, according to the residents living in Waterway Sunrise.

Speaking to the Chinese evening daily, a bakery employee shared that several monkeys would wait outside for freshly-baked goods as early as 7am. 

Once they open for business, a monkey would first rush in to 'test the water', the 30-year-old said, while describing their typical modus operandi.

"After snatching a bread away and leaving us no time to react, 10 other long-tailed macaques would then rush in and steal four more bread from us," she added.

This bakery employee could only stand and watch while several monkeys swooped in to steal freshly-baked goods. 
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

The gang of monkeys was also caught stealing fruits from supermarkets and a convenience shop, said a coffee shop employee who only wanted to be known as Lam.

"We are really worried. After [stealing from the shops], they would come over to the coffee shop to eat," she added.

When a reporter from Shin Min Daily News visited Block 658 along Punggol East on Monday (July 11) evening, around 10 monkeys were seen rummaging through the trash at the park.

With the presence of primates in the neighbourhood, a resident said that he has been advising his younger neighbours to refrain from eating while walking at the same time.

"The monkeys would gather at the HDB block at around 8am. As long as we don't provoke them, they will not do anything," 30-year-old Xu added, who has been living in Punggol for more than 10 years.

In 2021, a macaque at Punggol's Waterway Sunbeam estate was caught by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore after it scratched the leg of a young boy.

The monkey had also snatched food, including eggs from a passer-by, reported The Straits Times then.

AsiaOne has contacted Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council for comment. 

Dr Adrian Loo, group director of wildlife management at the National Parks Board (NParks), shared that such issues often arise when the macaques are attracted by easy access to human food or are fed by members of the public, reported Today last year. 

The agency has been carrying out efforts to guide the monkeys away from residential areas towards the forested areas, Dr Loo said at that time.

To monkey-proof your home, NParks has suggested the following:

  • Close all windows and doors, as well as installing mesh and grilles
  • Keep food out of sight
  • Double-knot all garbage bags and manage your refuse

ALSO READ: Teachers and pupils lock themselves in classrooms after monkey breaks into Yishun primary school

chingshijie@asiaone.com