SINGAPORE - Two men who were initially convicted of drug trafficking - one of whom was sentenced to the death - were acquitted by the Court of Appeal on Friday (May 27).
The three-judge court, led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, allowed the appeal of Raj Kumar Aiyachami, 40, against his conviction and mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking.
The court also allowed the appeal of Ramadass Punnusamy, 41, against his sentence of life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane.
The appeals of both men turned solely on whether each of them knew about the nature of the drugs.
The pair had been charged over a bag of drugs containing not less than 1.875 kg of cannabis.
Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers had observed Ramadass delivering the bag to Raj Kumar on Sept 21, 2015.
Raj, a Singaporean, who was represented by Mr Ramesh Tiwary, did not dispute that the drugs were in his possession but contended that there had been a mistaken delivery.
He said he had ordered a tobacco laced with a synthetic chemical that mimicked the narcotic effects of cannabis, known as Butterfly, and had gone to pick it up but received a bag of cannabis instead.
Ramadass, a Malaysian, did not dispute that he had delivered the bag to Raj, but contended that he did not know the nature of the drugs.
He said that he had been told that four bags of chemically-sprayed tobacco had been placed in the lorry he was driving.
Ramadass, who was represented by Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, contested three statements he gave which appeared to suggest he had knowledge of the nature of the drugs.
The pair were convicted by the High Court in June 2020.
The trial judge did not believe Raj's account of how he had ordered Butterfly on credit, finding it too incredible.
The trial judge also rejected Ramadass's evidenceand said he had ample opportunity to tailor his evidence in order to fit Raj's defence.
Raj was given the mandatory death sentence.
Ramadass, whom the trial judge found was a courier, was issued a certificate of substantive assistance, and was sentenced to life imprisonment and the mandatory minimum of 15 strokes of the cane.
On Friday, the Court of Appeal allowed their appeals and overturned their conviction.
The court said Raj had succeeded in establishing his defence of mistaken delivery, which was supported by the evidence of other witnesses.
The court also concluded that the contested statements could not be relied upon to show that Ramadass had actual knowledge of the drugs.
SINGAPORE - Nearly 300 people linked to more than 746 scam cases, including job, loan, rental and Internet love scams, are assisting the police with investigations.
Of the 295 suspected scammers and money mules, there are 199 men and 96 women, aged between 16 and 80, the police said on Friday (May 27).
In total, the victims lost more than $5.5 million, the police added.
The suspects are being investigated for cheating, money laundering or providing payment services without a licence. These are linked to business e-mail and government official impersonation, e-commerce, investment and other scams.
The suspects were caught during a two-week operation between May 14 and 26 conducted by officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and seven police land divisions.
The police said: "To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, members of the public should always reject requests by others to use their bank accounts or mobile lines as they will be held accountable if these are linked to crimes."
The offence of cheating carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine. Money laundering carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $500,000, or both.
The offence of carrying on a business of providing any type of payment service in Singapore without a licence carries a fine of up to $125,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit the Scam Alert website or call the anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.
Anyone with information on such scams may also call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at the website.
SINGAPORE - With Japan announcing on Thursday (May 26) that it will reopen its borders to tourists from 36 countries from June 10, travel enthusiasts and industry players in Singapore are making plans for leisure travel there.
On May 21 and 22, travel agency EU Holidays held a Japan travel fair and received overwhelming response from visitors.
EU Holidays director Fiona Ma said more than 200 people have made bookings, with families making up the majority.
She said: "The biggest family group we have seen so far has 15 people. Many Singaporeans are making advance bookings because they are afraid that there will be a price surge towards the end of the year."
Before Japan's announcement, EU Holidays had not scheduled tours for June, given that it did not know when the country's borders would reopen.
But now Ms Ma said her company will begin planning for customers who want to travel late next month.
Chan Brothers Travel's senior marketing communications manager, Mr Jeremiah Wong, said the agency welcomed the news.
However, he added: "There is still more official information needed from the authorities, such as which virus risk category Singapore would fall under and detailed testing protocols.
"Once we have more clarity and if conditions are suitable for leisure travel, we are ready to bring forward our small group tours series to around mid-June to cater to market demand."
The agency last week launched a small group tour series, with a maximum group size of nine, to Japan. Departures for this series of tours are currently slated for end-June or early July.
Mr Wong said: "Interest in the small group tour series has been encouraging. However, most prefer to adopt a wait-and-see approach due to the level of travel restrictions.
"Cost is another factor as these small group tours are 40 per cent more expensive than our year-end Japan tours (in bigger groups)."
He added that since Chan Brothers Travel launched a series of year-end package tours with up to 25 people per group to Japan three weeks ago, demand and bookings have been rising steadily and more than 25 groups have been formed.
The group size for its year-end tours may be adjusted to 30 travellers at a later stage.
On May 17, the Japan Tourism Agency announced that foreign tourists from the United States, Australia, Thailand and Singapore would be allowed to enter on small group package tours as part of a trial programme. It did not specify the number of people allowed in a group.
Ms Ma said that EU Holidays received an invitation early this month for one of its employees to go for a trip under the trial programme.
The Straits Times understands that a total of four Singaporeans, including three representatives from other travel agencies, are going for the trip from May 26 to 30.
Besides Singapore, the three other countries allowed to run package tours are involved in the trial.
After the trial, new information regarding Japan's travel restrictions should be released and there will be greater clarity on the requirements, added Ms Ma.
SA Tours managing director Kay Swee Pin said the travel agency has prepared itineraries to Japan, but the prices remain uncertain because airlines have yet to provide group rates.
Currently, its tours are based on a group size of 15 to 20 people, with the first departure in July.
Ms Kay added: "Our understanding is that the group size should be 10 and below (for June package tours). By July, we expect the maximum group size to be increased."
Meanwhile, money changers are noticing a stronger demand for the Japanese yen.
Mr Anwardeen, the sole proprietor of Central Exchange at Suntec City, said: "Ahead of Japan's reopening, the demand for yen is there. With the yen coming down quite a bit, a lot of people are buying more and keeping them."
Last month, the Japanese yen fell to a 20-year low against the US dollar.
Mr Steven Lang of Silver River Money Changer said: "In the past, 10,000 yen was roughly $124. Now, the same amount of yen is around $108."
The weakening Japanese currency has encouraged many Singaporeans to take advantage of the good rates even though they are still uncertain when they will go to Japan.
Mr Tay from Fountain Money Changer at Marina Square said: "People used to exchange money only when they are about to travel. At the moment, many people are buying (long) before they travel.
"Some customers have not seen the yen dropping to such low levels, so they are buying more (and saving them) for the next few years."
Despite rising demand for the yen, Japan's travel restrictions continue to affect money changers.
VS Exchange director Deen, who goes by one name, said the average daily transaction amount is currently one million to two million yen. Before the pandemic, the amount was around three times more.
"The demand (for yen) is gradually increasing and once the borders are open, it will definitely be higher," he said.
'No need to surge your purchase': FairPrice has 4 months' worth of frozen chicken; no limit on purchase for now
SINGAPORE - FairPrice has a stockpile of frozen chicken that can last for about four months, with another two months of supply on the way.
Ms Elaine Heng, FairPrice Group's deputy group chief executive officer, was speaking during a visit on Thursday (May 26) to the company's Fresh Food Distribution Centre in Upper Thomson Road.
Over the last few days, several wet markets and supermarkets saw their shelves cleared of fresh chicken as consumers rushed to stock up on the meat.
This followed an announcement by Malaysia on Monday (May 23) that it would halt the export of up to 3.6 million chickens a month from June 1, until domestic prices and production stabilise.
Asked by The Straits Times if FairPrice had any plans to limit the quantity of chicken or other protein products that customers can purchase, Ms Heng, who is also FairPrice's CEO for retail business, said the group is still observing the situation.
"At the current moment, what we've seen is that we're still able to replenish, and with the options of chilled and frozen (chicken)," she said.
But she added: "When the need arises, we will potentially consider this."
Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan, who was also visiting the facility, said there is an adequate supply of chicken in Singapore, and urged people to refrain from panic buying.
Acknowledging that there will be some disruption to sales of chilled or fresh chicken, he noted that about 70 per cent of Singapore's chicken imports are in frozen form, from a variety of countries other than Malaysia.
"So I'd like to assure Singaporeans that we have an adequate supply of frozen chicken in Singapore."
He added that many importers and retailers had already pre-ordered chicken supplies, which are expected to arrive in the next couple of weeks.
"We're also working very hard with the industry and importers to source from other countries and sources of chicken to ensure we have a continuation of supply. So I'd like to encourage every Singaporean to continue to purchase as per normal - there's no need to surge your purchase of chicken as there are adequate supplies," he said.
Mr Tan said Singapore is also currently looking to other countries like Australia as an alternative source of chilled chicken.
He added that the authorities will work with businesses that can serve only chilled chicken, to see how they can be helped during this period if their businesses are affected.
Mr Tan was also asked whether there might be an increase in the price of fish here.
Malaysian media had earlier this week reported a rise in fish prices in Malaysian markets due to a lack of supply in the waters around the country.
Mr Tan said: "We have to diversify our sources - that's the strategy we've adopted for many years, and it's served us well today. So even if there's disruption for any specific country, we still have sources we can rely on."
Asked whether FairPrice would control the price of chicken, Ms Heng noted that the group had recently reduced the price of eggs and given a promotion on oil, despite rising food costs.
She said: "We have been looking at how we can absorb these costs... we are doing our best to take into consideration the current environment and to moderate the cost of living to the best of our abilities."
Mr Tan added: "We should from time to time expect that there will be some kind of disruption resulting from either geopolitical development, or even climate change. And therefore we have to be resilient, we have to be adaptable, and we have to stay calm and stay united. I'm sure we can ride through any challenges.”
Celebrate Father's Day with Fashion-Forward BOSS Staycation and Gastronomic Delights at Hilton Singapore Orchard
There is nothing like celebrating the man who means the most to you. This Father’s Day weekend, Hilton Singapore Orchard’s Estate all-day dining restaurant has decked the dinner and Sunday Champagne Brunch spread with all dad’s favourites. For stylish dads, the hotel has announced a partnership with luxury fashion house BOSS, to make the month of June extra special for dads with an afternoon tea, cocktails inspired by the brand’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection, and an exclusive BOSS Suite Experience for the ultimate fashion-forward staycation.
SUMPTUOUS FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND BUFFET
Show your love and appreciation by treating daddy dearest to a feast fit for a king. At Estate, the hotel’s residential all-day dining restaurant, a myriad of gourmet specials await diners over dinner on June 18 and 19, and with self-service buffets back in action, there is plenty not to be missed. Estate is a modern reinterpretation of a colonial-era residence from the rich legacy of Orchard Road, featuring residential-style open kitchens that deliver the smells, sights, and tastes of a buffet spread that has been expertly curated in terms of presentation and offerings. With a focus on premium and quality ingredients, the menu showcases an amalgamation of flavours from around the world that will satisfy dads with a voracious appetite.
For the Father’s Day weekend (June 18 & 19), diners will be treated to dinner highlights that include:
CHAMPAGNE BUFFET BRUNCH FOR THE KING OF YOUR HEART
On Father’s Day (June 19), Dad will be given a royal welcome with a surprise door gift, compliments of Estate and an unparalleled feast of the finest ingredients and gourmet dishes, with the option of free-flow champagne and wines. On top of that, look out for a Father’s Day special “Gentlemen Trolley” by Head Mixologist Michael Mendoza, doling out Old Fashioned Cocktails (Whisky, Bitters, Homemade Gula Melaka) and Classic Negronis (Gin, Campari and Rosso).
On the buffet counter, look forward to exquisite highlights including:
BOSS INSPIRED COCKTAILS
For the month of June, the cocktail-drinking gentlemen can look forward to a line-up of tailored cocktails created by Head Mixologist Michael Mendoza in collaboration with BOSS, available exclusively at Ginger.Lily. Inspired by the iconic stripes from the BOSS Spring/Summer 2022 collection, a list of four cocktails priced at $20++ each has been specially concocted with the same bold personality associated with the BOSS brand.
Try Be Your Own BOSS, a sharp summer drink with chamomile whiskey, passionfruit juice and spiced bitters; or Be Bold, a dry cocktail perfect for the dauntless gentlemen with Mancino Kopi Vermouth, Irish cream, espresso and yuzu. For the authoritative, Be Confident is a must-try tipple with citrus vodka, pineapple shrub, Ginger.Lily tea and lemon oleo-saccharum. Lastly, Be Cool is a refreshing drink for the suave gentlemen, with gin, Mancino Bianco, cucumber juice and homemade cardamom syrup.
The first 50 BOSS guests with a minimum spending of $800++ at BOSS store at Mandarin Gallery will be able to redeem two complimentary BOSS cocktails (valued at $40++) at Ginger.Lily.
AFTERNOON TEA FOR THE POSH DADS
On June 18 and 19, satiate Dad’s sweet cravings in style at the hotel’s lobby lounge Ginger.Lily, where the signature afternoon tea experience is given a sleek BOSS makeover. Nestled in the communal heart of the hotel, the botanical-inspired lounge boasts a soaring conservatory-style space with double-height ceilings and towering cathedral-inspired glass doors, making Ginger.Lily a perfectly stylish spot to spend the afternoon, even for the gentlemen.
Enjoy a selection of delicious Mini Lobster Roll and Iberico Ham Crostini sandwiches, followed by warm savouries like Smoked Beef Burger and Salt Crusted Pork Bun, alongside Executive Pastry Chef Cindy Khoo’s repertoire of dessert creations such as Spiced Apple Tatin and Valrhona 46% Amatika Chocolate Cake.
Cocktail lovers can top up $40++ per person to enjoy two glasses of BOSS inspired cocktails. To sweeten the deal, the first 100 bookings will receive a BOSS exclusive gift and a S$50 nett voucher for Dads to shop a new set of threads at the newly reopened BOSS store at Mandarin Gallery (limited to one set per table only).
BOSS SUITE EXPERIENCE
Enjoy quality time together with the father of the year with a limited-time BOSS Suite Experience available for the first 100 bookings made between June 1 and 30. Pamper Dad with a luxurious two-day-one-night staycation in a King Executive Suite with Executive Lounge access.
As part of the experience, Dads will receive an exclusive welcome gift comprising a BOSS canvas tote bag, two glasses of BOSS inspired cocktails, and a $50 nett voucher to shop the collection at the BOSS store at Mandarin Gallery. For more information, or to book BOSS Suite stay experience, visit www.hiltonsingaporeorchard.com/offers
Estate and Ginger.Lily
Level 5, Hilton Singapore Orchard - 333 Orchard Road, Singapore 238867
For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.hiltonsingaporeorchard.com/estate or www.hiltonsingaporeorchard.com/ginger.lily
Estate Father’s Day Weekend Dinner Buffet:
Dinner: Saturday 18 June & Sunday 19 June 2022
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Estate Father’s Day Grand Champagne Brunch Buffet:
Date: Sunday 19 June 2022
Time: Noon to 3 p.m.
Ginger.Lily BOSS Inspired Afternoon Tea:
Date: Saturday 18 June & Sunday 19 June 2022,
Time: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
● $78++ per set (min. two persons) with free flow coffee and tea (a minimum of two persons
is required), inclusive of a BOSS Welcome Gift and a $50 nett voucher to shop at BOSS
flagship store at Mandarin Gallery. Limited to one set per table only.
● Option to top up with BOSS Inspired Cocktails – two glasses ($40++ per person)
● Limited to first 100 bookings only. Pre-booking is required.
BOSS Suite Experience
Book and stay between 1 June and 30 June 2022
A new wave of energy is sweeping across the island, and it may be coming to a train station near you! Royal Entertainment Singapore artiste Terry Tan has been raising more than a few eyebrows over the past few days with his highly spirited, spontaneous dance moves at various spots along Singapore’s public transport network.
All this is part of “The Energia Journey” publicity campaign, with Terry’s role as Star of Energia encompassing a 7-day expedition on different public transport modes to promote the products and services of Energia Singapore, which specialises in natural therapy programs.
Already, videos of Terry’s public exploits have already amassed over 500,000 views on social media platform TikTok within just two days, proving the campaign to be a raging success both offline and online. Love him or hate him, it’s impossible to ignore him!
The Energia Journey will continue to run till this Sunday, 29 May 2022. Be sure to keep a lookout for Terry the next time you embark on your public transport ride, and follow his updates on The Energia Journey’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheEnergiaJourneySG!
SINGAPORE - The Commissioner of Charities (COC) is proposing to do away with the need for charities to apply for a police permit before they raise funds in public, such as through flag days, carnivals, concerts and any face-to-face soliciting for donations on the streets.
Instead, charities have to disclose details of their fund-raiser on the Charity Portal, the COC's website, at least one month before the fund-raiser starts.
These details include the purpose of the fund-raiser, its duration, mode of collection and the charity's contact details. If a third-party fund-raiser, such as companies that take a cut of the donations raised, is involved, the charity is required to make public more information.
Such information includes the third-party fund-raiser's name and the written agreement the charity made with the third-party fund-raiser containing details of the fund-raising appeal.
Charities also have to do their own due diligence to ensure these third-party fund-raisers are "bona fide organisations and credible and trusted to carry out public fund-raising appeals", said the COC.
The COC has been seeking the public's feedback from May 5 to 26 on a revised regulatory regime for public fund-raising appeals.
Besides the public consultation, the COC is also having dialogue sessions with some charities to hear their views.
The COC told reporters: "With a maturing charity landscape, the proposed changes seek a better balance between making it easier for bona fide charities and fund-raisers to raise funds by streamlining processes, and the appropriate transparency and accountability safeguards to help members of the public make informed decisions on their donations."
The House to House and Street Collections Act was introduced in 1947 to regulate soliciting from the streets or going from house-to-house for donations.
Charities conducting such forms of public fund raising have to apply for a House to House and Street Collections licence from the police.
If the charity is a member of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), it has to apply for a fund-raising permit from the NCSS.
In 2018 and 2019, the police issued about 450 such licences a year and the NCSS issued about 400 fund-raising permits a year.
However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the issuance of such licences have been suspended since April 7, 2020, the COC said.
With the proposed changes, relevant legislation such as fund-raising regulations in the Charities Act will be amended to enable the COC to take appropriate regulatory actions against charities if they fail to comply with the requirements or if they wilfully give inaccurate information.
The penalties for those who do not comply could be similar to those currently imposed under the Charities Act and Fundraising Regulations, the COC said.
The proposed changes are expected to be implemented by the last quarter of the year.
Charities interviewed, such as Blessed Grace Social Services which helps gambling addicts and others, as well as youth mental health charity Limitless, welcome the proposed changes. They said the changes would ease their administrative workload and make it easier for them to plan their fund-raisers.
Chairman of Lions Befrienders, Mr Anthony Tay, said if the need to apply for a fund-raising permit is scrapped, it will save the charity 10 to 20 days of waiting time for the permit to be approved and will enable it to be more efficient in executing its fund-raising campaigns. Lions Befrienders serves seniors through befriending and other services.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, charities had to turn to online fund-raising events as large-scale in-person fund-raisers, such as charity dinners and flag days, were off limits.
With the Covid-19 restrictions being relaxed, the charities interviewed said that flag days and street collections would remain an important part of their fund-raising strategy.
Mr Asher Low, executive director of Limitless, said that flag days allow the charity to reach out to people who may not come across its online fund-raisers and it helps to create awareness of the charity's work.
The COC encourages donors to check that their donations are used for genuine charitable purposes by practising "Ask, check, give".
- First, ask the fund-raiser basic questions such as who the beneficiary is, what the donations will be used for and how donors can get updates about the beneficiary.
- Next, check the Charity Portal to verify that the beneficiary is a registered charity and if details of the fund-raiser have been disclosed.
- Give with peace of mind after ensuring that the donations are going to a genuine charitable cause.
SINGAPORE - A man who was shot in the left arm by a police officer in Clementi after he charged forward with a knife earlier this year has been handed three new charges.
On Thursday (May 26), Soo Cheow Wee appeared via video link before a district court to face fresh charges of punching an Aetos officer in June 2019, as well as committing a rash act and breaching a personal protection order last year.
Soo, who now sports a shaved head, told the court that he intends to plead guilty and is applying for legal aid.
The 49-year-old is accused of punching the Aetos officer on his left temple on June 9, 2019, at about 6.40pm.
Details of the incident, which happened at the Kampong Java Neighbourhood Police Centre, were not stated in court documents.
On Sept 16 last year, Soo also allegedly breached a personal protection order that a woman took against him for family violence.
He is said to have thrown an aerosol can at the same woman in a unit in Clementi.
His third charge, for allegedly committing a rash act, is in relation to the same incident.
Reporters is not naming the woman to protect her identity.
Soo was shot during a stand-off with police officers outside Clementi Police Division in Clementi Avenue 5 on Feb 17 this year.
He had allegedly charged towards one of the officers while brandishing a knife.
Minutes prior to the incident, he is said to have slashed a 41-year-old man with a knife near Block 420A, Clementi Avenue 1.
If convicted of slashing another man with a knife, Soo can be jailed for up to seven years and fined or caned.
For voluntarily causing hurt to a public servant in the discharge of his duty, Soo can be jailed for up to seven years, fined, caned, or any combination of these punishments.
For breaching a protection order, offenders face a fine of up to $2,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both.
Repeat offenders face a fine of up to $5,000, a jail term of up to 12 months, or both.
SINGAPORE: Woodlands Checkpoint will be expanded to include areas beyond the previously planned Old Woodlands Town Centre, and this will involve the acquisition of nine Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats.
Announcing this on Thursday (May 26), authorities said traffic volume at Woodlands Checkpoint will have increased by close to 40 per cent by 2050, meaning a daily average of 400,000 travellers as compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“If the overall clearance capacity is not increased, the travel time for vehicular traffic could increase by more than 60 per cent to 70 per cent during peak periods by 2050,” said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and HDB in a media release.
To expand Woodlands Checkpoint, seven blocks of more than 730 sold flats - blocks 212 to 218 Marsiling Crescent/Lane - will be acquired and owners will be compensated based on the market value of their unit as at the date of acquisition.
They will also get the option to buy a new flat with a fresh 99-year lease at subsidised prices.
Tenants of blocks 210 and 211, comprising rental flats, a rental kiosk, rental shops and a rental eating house, will also get rehousing and clearance benefits.
Residents and tenants will have to move out by the second quarter of 2028, HDB’s director of projects and development Ng Hwee Yian told reporters on Thursday.
They will get priority for about 1,100 new replacement flats at Woodlands Street 13. Construction of these flats will start in the third quarter of 2023, with completion estimated by the fourth quarter of 2027.
Owners of the sold flats in blocks 212 to 218 Marsiling Crescent/Lane will be offered the same rehousing benefits as those offered under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), the agencies said.
“To help defray the expenses incurred in the move, HDB will also provide flat owners with a removal allowance, as well as the stamp and legal fees for the purchase of a comparable replacement flat,” they added.
EXPANSION TO ADDRESS TRAFFIC CONGESTION
The aim of the expanding Woodlands Checkpoint is to better alleviate traffic congestion and “future-proof” it for the projected increase in traffic volume, ICA, SLA and HDB said.
The expansion will include the addition of “flexi-lanes” that can clear both cars and motorcycles, reducing travel time by as much as four times, the agencies said. This means a clearance time of 15 minutes, down from 60 minutes, during peak periods.
Other plans are:
Pre-pandemic, the Causeway was one of the busiest land checkpoints in the world, with about 300,000 people passing through every day.
The initial expansion of Woodlands Checkpoint was first announced in 2017, with the acquisition of two lots of private land in the Old Woodlands Town Centre.
The acquired land will eventually become an extension of Woodlands Checkpoint to increase overall clearance capacity and improve security, SLA had said.
The agencies said on Thursday that a study is ongoing to determine the optimal design of this extension to clear heavy goods vehicles and motorcycles.
“To support this, the Bukit Timah Expressway will be extended and enhanced to channel traffic directly to and from the Old Woodlands Town Centre extension. The immediate and surrounding local road networks will also be upgraded,” they added.
The flat acquisition and subsequent redevelopment of Woodlands Checkpoint will be carried out progressively, the agencies said, adding that they will work to minimise disruption to residents.
ICA’s deputy commissioner of operations Hsu Sin Yun said there is no timeline yet for the “major” project but estimated that it will take 10 to 15 years.
SERS GRANT, REHOUSING BENEFITS
The existing flats at Marsiling Crescent are around 40 years old, noted Huttons Asia's senior director of research Lee Sze Teck.
"It is a good opportunity to move to a new flat with a fresh 99 years lease. The location of the replacement flats is much nearer to an MRT station, improving the accessibility for residents," he added.
Marsiling MRT station is about a 10-minute walk away. There are existing shops and eating houses nearby, and Marsiling Mall and Causeway Point are “easily accessible” by bus, said the agencies.
There will be five blocks of new replacement flats at Woodlands Street 13. They are 23 to 34 storeys high, comprising two-room Flexi, three-room, four-room and five-room flats.
Huttons estimates that the replacement flats could start from S$160,000 for three-room units and from S$345,000 for five-room flats.
“Flat owners have the option of purchasing these new flats with better design and fittings, located within a precinct with modern and comprehensive facilities,” said the agencies.
Eligible flat owners may receive a SERS grant of up to S$30,000 and take out a housing loan from HDB for the purchase of their new flat.
Eligible rental flat tenants will also be given rehousing benefits like a rehousing allowance of S$2,500 and priority allocation of sold flats under the Build-to-Order or Sale of Balance Flats Exercises and at the offered precinct at Woodlands Street 13.
The agencies said they will work closely with the owners and tenants and help them through the process.
Authorities will begin door-to-door visits to each household from 12pm on Thursday to address concerns and share more details with flat owners.
SINGAPORE: A cook working at Mandai Hill Camp molested his co-worker for months, pinching her buttocks and hugging her from behind when nobody was looking.
He Yanjun, 45, was sentenced on Thursday (May 26) to six weeks' jail after pleading guilty to two counts of using criminal force to outrage the woman's modesty.
Another four similar charges were considered for sentencing.
He started to inappropriately touch the victim, whose identity is protected by gag order, in December 2019.
The victim tried to be vigilant about He's presence around her to avoid his touch, but he was still able to catch her off-guard, the court heard.
In one such instance on Jan 17, 2020, the victim was bending down to clean the floor with a spray hose when He approached her from behind and hugged her midriff.
The victim angled the hose to spray water at He, who then walked to her front and bent the neck of the hose so that water was unable to flow out.
He only walked away after the woman grabbed a second hose lying on the floor and brandished it at him.
Sometime later that month, He approached the victim while she was in a store room, hugging her from behind and holding her wrist.
The woman was fearful that no one else would enter the store room and come to her help. She struggled forcefully to free herself, but the more she did so, the tighter He's grip became.
She then tried to break free by lowering her body until she was lying on the ground. At this point, He let go and left the store room.
He continued to touch the victim inappropriately. On Feb 14, 2020, he pinched the victim's buttock and she decided to inform her supervisor of this.
The supervisor initiated internal investigations and asked the victim if she wanted to make a police report.
She decided to make a police report on Feb 17, 2020, and was escorted to a police centre to do so.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Jing Min asked for six to eight weeks' jail, arguing that this was a case of workplace harassment with a need to deter other potential offenders.
She highlighted that there was an element of restraint in both charges, as He approached the victim in enclosed spaces and used his arms or other parts of his body to restrain her.
Defence lawyer Foo Ho Chew said his client was remorseful and noted that this was his first offence of any kind.
"He has vowed to change his ways with female acquaintances and friends in the future," said Mr Foo.
However, Ms Tan pointed out that He had previously claimed trial to the charges, and argued that he only decided to plead guilty after seeing the weight of evidence against him.
District Judge Victor Yeo said he took into account the element of restraint and number of incidents occurring in the workplace to determine the jail sentence.
He will start serving his sentence next week after the judge granted his request for a deferment to settle matters related to his work and family.
He is no longer working at Mandai Hill Camp. He was accompanied to court by his wife, who is also his bailor.
The punishment for using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person is up to three years' jail, a fine, caning or any combination of these punishments.