SINGAPORE - Plastic bags containing unknown items are piled on top of each other. Plastic bottles are scattered everywhere. A luggage bag stands among them.
This was the scene outside a flat on the 10th storey of Block 104 Tampines Street 11. Though a locked gate separates the unit from the other flats along the corridor, the stench is overpowering - it hits the nostrils long before you get there.
Other than the smell, neighbours also complain of the pests that are attracted to the clutter.
According to them, cockroaches and flies often find their way into their flats, Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.
The owner of the flat, a woman who looked to be in her 40s, was described by her neighbours as an eccentric who started bringing rubbish back to her house many years ago, the Chinese daily said.
When The New Paper visited the flat yesterday afternoon, the refuse pile was about a metre high.
The owner of the flat had dishevelled hair, but her clothes looked clean.
She refused to be interviewed and attempted to chase this reporter away when he tried to talk to her neighbours.
Ms Fara, a secondary school student who lives one floor above the hoarder, told TNP that her family has been living with foul odour for the past few years.
"Cockroaches and flies also come into our house every night via the kitchen window. We have to spray insecticide every night before we sleep," said the 16-year-old.
She added that the police visited the flat in the second half of last year.
A neighbour who lives a few units away from the hoarder said that the problem intensified after the owner's mother moved out of the flat last year.
"She would get very worked up and start scolding anyone who tried to remove her rubbish. We try to avoid contact with her to prevent any trouble," said the housewife.
She added that her family was not affected by the smell or pests because they lived further away. Mr Lim, a resident on the 10th storey, told Shin Min that sometimes the hoarder's items would spill into the corridor and on the windows of other flats below.
"Her immediate neighbours on both sides don't even dare to open their windows now. I once saw about 20 cockroaches outside her flat and sprayed insecticide. She threw those items away the next day," said Mr Lim.
He added that the woman collects refuse during the day and sleeps at the stairwell next to her house from 11pm to 7am. She also uses a public toilet to bathe and wash her clothes.
Shin Min said the Housing Board and Tampines Town Council were trying to contact the hoarder's family to resolve the problem. The board added that they intend to send personnel to the flat to clear the refuse.
Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, Ms Irene Ng, posted photos on her Facebook page last November showing Town Council workers clearing a refuse pile outside the flat, which was in a worse state than what TNP witnessed yesterday.
Other hoarders in the news
JULY 17, 2013
A four-room flat in Woodlands belonging to a woman in her 50s was completely filled with junk and she resorted to leaving rubbish outside the unit. Neighbours were hindered from accessing their own flats by the pile blocking the corridor, which was also infested with cockroaches.
DEC 5, 2012
A 75-year-old woman was found dead in her flat in Ang Mo Kio which was filled with rubbish.
A neighbour whose husband had visited the flat 10 years before the woman's death said he had seen newspaper piles all over the place.
JUNE 2, 2012
Singapore Civil Defence Force officers took 15 hours to remove a man's body in the toilet of a Hougang flat that was cluttered with junk, stacked floor to ceiling.
Police officers had to wear face masks while sifting through the mountains of rubbish.
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