Throwback 2014

Fire in shophouse raises questions


It was Singapore's worst fire in 10 years.

Four workers from Malaysia were killed after a blaze broke out at a Geylang Lorong 4 shophouse in the early hours of Dec 6.

Mr Yusof Masrong, 49, from Sarawak, Mr Ramu Kotiah, 50, from Perak, Mr Jubitol Rumanjing, 37, and Mr Maslan Musundo, 43, both from Sabah, all died.

Eight people, including two firemen, were injured.

An investigation is still under way to determine if there was overcrowding in the unit, where the four victims stayed.

The incident has cast the spotlight on illegal dormitories, which are usually found to have bad living conditions with poor fire safety.

Car importer zooms away with buyers' money

DEC 16

Car parallel importer and dealer Volks Auto shut its doors this month after collecting more than $3.6 million from at least 100 buyers, without delivering the cars.

Police have classified it as a cheating case.

The customers rallied together and filed police reports as well as complaints with the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), but they have not been able to get their money back.

The director and owner of the company, Mr Alvin Loo, 36, left Singapore in early December. He is uncontactable and his whereabouts are unknown.

Police are trying to track him down.

Case has suggested an insurance scheme to protect those who pay deposits to buy vehicles.

Chinese national charged with murder

DEC 18

Chinese national Zheng Xianghua, 37, stabbed himself after allegedly killing Ms Wang Xueyan, also from China, in a flat in Block 503 Tampines Central 1.

She is believed to have been in her 20s.

Zheng, who was bleeding profusely, fled to Block 505, 20 metres away, where his blood flowed down the facade of the building from the third floor.

He was charged with murder while recovering in Changi General Hospital.

He will undergo psychiatric evaluation, with his case coming before the courts on Jan 8.

Instagram purge sees drop in followers

DEC 20

Celebrities the world over saw their number of Instagram followers plummet, as the photo-sharing site purged spam and fake accounts.

A-listers like Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian were hit, and local personalities such as blogger Xiaxue and model-blogger Tan Kay Kay also saw their follower numbers drop, with the former losing 30,000 followers in 24 hours.

Bloggers The New Paper spoke to welcomed the "purge", saying that it helped clients identify which bloggers buy fake followers.

Xiaxue, whose real name is Wendy Cheng, 30, told TNP: "Why should people with fake followers be earning clients' money when they, in fact, are not reaching out to that many people online?"

Other local personalities who saw their numbers drop drastically included Miss Singapore Universe Rachel Kum, who saw her followers dip from 27,000 to 12,000, a 55 per cent drop.


This article was first published on December 31, 2014.
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