After two years and two court orders, a man in Bukit Panjang says he is still being plagued by noise from his neighbours living in the unit below — and it shows no signs of stopping.
Daniel See, 29, who left his job in June in order to spend more time collecting evidence against his neighbours, has now applied for an Exclusion Order to evict his neighbours from their flat, according to reporters.
But his neighbours, identified only as the Lius, denied See's allegations in an interview with reporters and said that that they will file an appeal if they are ordered to evict.
The case will be heard this month by the Community Dispute Resolution Tribunal (CDRT), which deals with cases involving an "interference with enjoyment or use of place of residence" by a "neighbour".
The CDRT is meant to be a last resort to resolve neighbourly disputes after methods such as speaking to the neighbour directly, speaking to grassroots leaders and community mediation have proven unsuccessful.
After hearing each case, the tribunal may choose to make certain orders such as asking a neighbour to apologise or pay damages.
The CDRT, which was convened in Oct 2015, has not made any Exclusion Orders to date. While two applications for an Exclusion Order were received in 2018, the tribunal declined to make the order for both cases.
Both the Sees and the Lius had been neighbours for 30 years without any conflict. But in Nov 2017, things changed.
See had called the police after seeing a woman, one of the Lius, hitting a staircase railing with a metal rod.
The Lius, who live on the eighth floor, then began to create excessive noise in retaliation, See said.
The Liu family would sleep in their master bedroom and living room with blankets over their heads and ears, just so they could play loud music in the room below See's at night, Tribunal Judge Diana Ho noted.
The disturbance did not stop even after the CDRT made a Consent Order in 2018.
A Consent Order is a court-approved order confirming an agreement between parties and is legally binding. In this case, the Sees and Lius had agreed not to cause excessive noise.
The tribunal then issued a Special Direction to order the Lius to comply with the consent order.
The Sees and Lius were also told by the tribunal to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in their homes. The recordings were later compared in court, although Ho found that many videos submitted by the Lius to rebut See's allegations were "unreliable or inaccurate".
For example, the Lius would submit videos showing that they were home when they were in court that day, said Ho.
See has also filed a Magistrate's Complaint to privately prosecute them for breach of the Special Direction. If convicted, they can be fined up to $5,000 or imprisoned up to three months or both.
"They would throw objects on their floor, make hammering sounds every day and play music loudly throughout the night," See told The Straits Times. "The court has found my neighbours guilty but there is no consequence for their deeds. So the family gets bolder and makes even more noise now."
But the Lius told a different story.
The family's youngest son, 20, alleged that the See and his family were the ones responsible for the noise. See had even threatened them before, Liu told Shin Min Daily News.
See once sat outside their house and even threw a chair on the floor, he added.
In response to the claims, See clarified that he had only been sitting outside their house as he was waiting for the police to arrive.
Both families have also reportedly exchanged blows.
According to Liu, See's father caused a bruise on his mother's arm while his father was hit in the eye.
See, however, denied that his family had hit Liu's father and said that Liu's mother was the one who had started the altercation with his father.