Woman, 75, detained for conservancy fee arrears

A woman in her 70s was detained and summoned to court for owing $411 in conservancy fees, Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

Madam Lee, who lives in Lengkok Bahru, told Shin Min that she received the summons two weeks ago. She could not read English and had to ask a friend to translate it.

She is accused of owing the Tanjong Pagar Town Council $411 in conservancy fees, and can be fined $1,000 if found guilty.

According to the town council, Madam Lee has been late many times, and usually only paid when issued a court letter.

The 75-year-old said she seldom opens her letterbox. "My husband died in 2008, and I stopped working in 2003," she told Shin Min. "I pay only when I have money to spare."

She added that her husband had been ill before he died and she had been delaying the $55 monthly payments since then.

The town council said it has told Madam Lee repeatedly to inform it if she faces financial difficulty. It has issued her five court notices since 2000.

This month, Madam Lee said she turned herself in at a police station. She was offered bail, but chose to remain in custody. After two days, she paid the $1,000 in bail and was released.

Chia Shi Lu, an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, said that residents who are unable to pay the fees can speak to the town council or approach the MPs for help.

He said the town council issues court summonses only to tardy residents after sending them reminders, visiting them in person, and not getting a response after six months.

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