By helping his friend get out of a sticky situation, one man ended up becoming the victim of a brutal attack.
The incident occurred at about 5.35am on Thursday (Dec 1) at the void deck of Block 645 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5.
Raymond, told reporters that it all started when he offered to sell a mobile phone to a male resident at that block for $60 on Wednesday.
After some negotiation, the latter ended up giving Raymond $20 and a pair of sunglasses in exchange for the phone.
"However, the later backtracked and wanted the sunglasses back. I refused and got into an argument with him. He said he wanted to fight me one-on-one," recounted Raymond.
Raymond's friend, who happened to be there, intervened to stop the quarrel and the male resident left.
But the trouble didn't end there.
During the wee hours of Thursday morning, the male resident returned to the void deck and attacked Raymond's friend, hitting him on the head with a spanner.
He quickly fled the scene, but left behind a 20cm-long spanner.
Raymond shared that he and his friend sleep at the same void deck regularly, and sometimes they'd sell second-hand goods to residents.
He was not at the void deck when the attack occurred but only found out after his friend called the police and was taken to the hospital.
Shin Min reporters who went to the location of the attack saw that a bench at the void deck was stained with blood. There were also some blood-soaked tissue papers and bandages scattered around.
About 10 police officers were present, and the bloodied spanner was seized as evidence.
Responding to AsiaOne's queries, the police said they were alerted to a case of assault on Thursday and a 55-year-old man was taken to the hospital.
Police investigations are ongoing.
Neighbours' brawl involving iron rod
Just last month, two neighbours in Yishun got into a violent brawl that involved an iron rod — all because one of them felt "tortured" by the noise coming from his neighbour's unit.
The man, surnamed Peng, told reporters then that he brought the iron rod to level the playing field, as his neighbour has three grown-up sons.
He claimed he did not intend to beat his neighbour up with a weapon.
"He beat me a few times before I fought back. His son also hit my stomach and stepped on my body," said the 72-year-old taxi driver.
The neighbour, Guomin, countered that Peng used to throw rubbish into his unit, and would yell vulgarities at his family.
"[Peng] walked to my unit after I told him to come if he had the guts," he said.
"I went out to reason with him, but I didn't expect to be attacked with an [iron rod]. I was caught off guard and could only block it with my hands."
As a result of their altercation, Peng was left with bruises and abrasions on his hands as well as abdominal pains, while Guomin broke his right hand and had to be put in a cast for two weeks.
SINGAPORE - Most home owners will have to pay higher property tax in 2023, as the authorities raise the annual value of most residential properties to reflect the increase in rentals.
To offset this, the Government will provide a one-off tax rebate of up to $60 for all owner-occupied properties, said the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) in a joint statement on Friday.
The annual value of most private residential properties and Housing Board flats will be raised from Jan 1, 2023, as part of Iras’ annual review of properties to calculate how much taxes should be paid, the authorities said.
All one-room and two-room flat owners will continue to pay no property tax as the annual value of their homes remain below $8,000.
The majority of those living in other HDB flat types will pay between $30 and $70 more in property tax compared to 2022, after taking into account the rebate, said the authorities.
Those living in three-room flats will each pay between $7 and $30 more after the rebate, while those staying in four-room, five-room and executive flats will each pay between $33.60 and $67.20 more.
Iras monitors market rental trends to determine the annual value of properties. Since the last revision of annual values, rents of HDB flats and private homes have risen by more than 20 per cent, the authorities said.
A property’s annual value is its estimated annual rent if it were to be rented out, and is determined based on the market rents of comparable properties.
SINGAPORE - The Basic Healthcare Sum will be raised from $66,000 to $68,500 for Central Provident Fund (CPF) members under 65 years old from Jan 1.
Those who are 66 and above in 2023 will see no change to their Basic Healthcare Sum, the CPF Board, the Ministry of Health and the Housing Board said on Thursday.
This sum is the estimated savings required for basic subsidised healthcare needs in old age. It is adjusted yearly for CPF members below 65 to keep pace with the growth in MediSave use.
Once members reach 65, their Basic Healthcare Sum will be fixed for the rest of their lives.
Interest rates of CPF accounts will remain unchanged in the first quarter of 2023, the government bodies added.
But the Government said it will ensure that CPF’s rate pegs remain relevant in the prevailing operating environment while taking into consideration the longer-term outlook.
From Jan 1 to March 31, CPF members below 55 years old will continue to earn interest rates of up to 3.5 per cent a year on their Ordinary Account, and up to 5 per cent a year on their Special and MediSave accounts.
These interest rates include the extra 1 per cent interest on the first $60,000 of their combined balances, capped at $20,000 for the Ordinary Account.
Older members will get an extra 2 per cent interest on the first $30,000 of their combined balances (capped at $20,000 for the Ordinary Account), and an extra 1 per cent on the next $30,000, allowing members to earn up to 6 per cent interest a year on their retirement balances.
The higher interest rate is part of the Government’s efforts to enhance the retirement savings of CPF members.
The extra interest received on the Ordinary Account will go into the member’s Special or Retirement accounts.
For members who are at least 55 and participate in the CPF Life scheme, the extra interest earned will remain in their combined balances, which include the savings used for CPF Life.
CPF Life provides a lifelong monthly payout that begins when a member turns 65.
The yearly floor rate of 2.5 per cent interest earned on the Ordinary Account will be maintained in the first quarter of 2023, as will the 4 per cent floor rate for the Special and MediSave accounts.
The 4 per cent floor rate on the Retirement Account will also remain unchanged.
The concessionary interest rate for HDB housing loans, which is pegged at 0.1 per cent above the Ordinary Account interest rate, will remain at 2.6 per cent a year.
Visit cpf.gov.sg/CPFInterestRates for more information on CPF interest rates and their computation, and visit the CPF website or contact the CPF Board for inquiries.
A dispute over a $15 treatment resulted in a catfight between a 15-year-old teenage girl and staff at a beauty salon, with the police eventually called in.
This incident happened at The Bencoolen shopping mall located along Bencoolen Street on Monday (Nov 28).
A staff member at the salon, surnamed Wang, 34, told reporters that the customer was the one who initiated the fight, sharing that the teenager went to the salon for a brow-trimming service with a male friend on Monday.
And after the treatment, this customer paid $15 and left.
However, not long after that, she returned to ask for a refund. She also told Wang that she wanted to look for the beautician who had attended to her.
When Wang refused her request, she said the teenager shoved her and hit her neck. The former then hit her back, claiming she did so in self defence.
In a CCTV footage shown to reporters, the beauty salon pointed out that the customer did not appear to show any dissatisfaction when paying and that her entire visit took less than 10 minutes.
Wang added that she had only been working in Singapore for a month and is traumatised by the encounter.
Pricked by needle
The 15-year-old student surnamed Lin, however, countered that during the treatment, another beautician kept trying to push other services that were offered by the salon.
Lin said she rejected them all.
And that's when trouble started, she claimed, saying that during the treatment the beautician used a needle to prick the skin around her left temple twice.
At the same time, Lin recalled the beautician saying "one for $5... two for $10", explaining that she was removing her "oil seeds".
"Only when she was about to prick my skin for the third time did I realise what was happening and avoided [the needle]."
Worried over her safety if she were to confront the staff in the shop, Lin said she left immediately after paying.
However, she said she later returned to the salon, approaching a staff member outside to enquire about the name of the shop. She said that she also asked to see the beautician who tended to her, which led to the 'fight'.
Lin filmed the exchange on her phone, which she said angered the woman.
"When she found out [that I was filming], she smacked the phone out of my hands and hit my left cheek causing me to fall on the ground," said Lin.
She added that two other staff members approached the pair, and one even grabbed her shoulders from behind.
Lin said she made a police report on the spot.
The teenager told reporters that she suffered injuries to her eyes and limbs, including a fractured index finger, and has so far spent more than $300 on medical expenses. She said she intends to seek compensation from the salon.
When a reporter contacted the salon again, a staff member who did not wish to be named suggested that Lin could have called for help from her male friend waiting outside the room, or she could have refused to pay if she did not want the additional services.
As for the physical altercation which occurred between the colleague and Lin, the staff member pointed out that it was Lin who blocked the colleague's way first and shoved her.
When contacted by reporters, police confirmed that a report had been lodged.
Based on data released by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) in July this year, the beauty industry is among the top three industries for consumer complaints received from 2021 to 2022, mainly due to "pressure sales tactics and misleading claims".
There were 717 complaints lodged against the beauty industry from January to June this year, compared to 627 for the same period last year.
Under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, consumers have the right to cancel their contract within five days for beauty purchases made subjected to pressure.
SINGAPORE – A renovation firm director who had fled Singapore after he allegedly murdered his business partner was discharged from Changi General Hospital on Wednesday.
Caleb Joshua Chai Shanmugam, 50, will be remanded at the Central Police Division for a week, the court heard on Friday.
It was not mentioned why he was warded in hospital.
Chai, who was charged with murder on Nov 18, will be taken out during his remand period to assist with investigations.
During the brief court mention on Friday, Chai asked to speak to his wife, but District Judge Terence Tay declined his request, saying it was up to his investigation officer to decide.
Chai is accused of killing Ms Ang Qi Ying, 27, in a ground-floor unit at Block 2 Beach Road at around 7pm on Nov 9.
The pair were co-directors of Smart Click Services.
Reporters had previously reported that Ms Ang had gone missing on Nov 9, prompting pleas from friends and family for information on her whereabouts.
Her last message was to her mother that day, saying she would not be returning home.
Chai, after allegedly killing Ms Ang, left for Malaysia on Nov 10.
In an earlier statement, the police said they were alerted to a case of unnatural death at the shop four days after the alleged murder.
“(The woman) was linked to a missing person report made on the evening of Nov 10 and the police had identified a 50-year-old man in connection to the case,” the police added.
With help from the Royal Malaysia Police, Chai was caught in Johor Bahru on Nov 16 and handed over to Singapore police.
Chai is represented by lawyers Suang Wijaya and Sophia Ng from Eugene Thuraisingam LLP.
Offenders convicted of murder face the death penalty.
SINGAPORE – A full-time police national serviceman posed as a female sex worker online to dupe three men of more than $1,000 in total when they tried to engage her services.
Lim Sin Yi was jailed for three weeks on Thursday. The 23-year-old had pleaded guilty in October to four counts of cheating involving three men, who cannot be named because of a gag order to protect their identities.
Reporters has contacted the Singapore Police Force to confirm Lim’s national service status.
In June 2021, Lim pretended to be a woman and posted an advertisement on his Twitter account listing several lewd videos.
He wrote in the advertisement that in exchange for $500, he would sell all the videos and arrange for a meeting to provide sexual services.
In earlier proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor Louis Ngia said Lim also uploaded several pictures showing a nude female body.
Three men fell for Lim’s ruse and they each transferred between $300 and $530 to him.
Lim cheated his first victim of $500 on or around June 4, 2021, before blocking the man on Twitter and messaging platform Telegram.
He targeted his second victim that same month. After transferring $500, the second victim repeatedly messaged him on Twitter to ask for the meeting that had been promised.
Lim then gave various excuses and said that “she” was unavailable.
Still posing as a sex worker, he said he had a sexually transmitted disease and needed time to recover while being treated with antibiotics.
About a month later, the second victim again messaged Lim on Twitter to ask for the meeting details and transferred $30 for a sexually explicit video.
He finally realised that he had been cheated when his messages with Lim on Twitter were deleted.
In July 2021, the third victim saw the advertisement and transferred $300 to Lim as a deposit to meet for sex, with the remaining $200 to be paid later.
To further his deception, Lim provided the victim with a random address in Ang Mo Kio that he had found online.
DPP Ngia said: “This was a misrepresentation that they would meet at the provided location for the sexual services to be provided.
“(The victim) went to the provided location and waited there for about 50 minutes. As the accused remained uncontactable, (the victim) realised he had been cheated.”
The third victim later made a police report.
Lim has since given his consent to the authorities for the monies frozen in his bank account to be released for restitution.
For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to three years and fined.
SINGAPORE - A man who was convicted of drug trafficking for handing two packets of heroin to his pregnant wife escaped the gallows on Thursday, after the Court of Appeal overturned his death sentence in a 3-2 decision.
Roszaidi Osman, 50, was instead sentenced to life imprisonment, after the majority found that his major depressive disorder and substance use disorder had substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts.
Roszaidi, who began consuming cannabis when he was 10 and was plagued by drug-related problems for most of his adult life, began delivering drugs in July 2015.
On the night of Oct 6, 2015, his friend Mohammad Azli Mohammad Salleh drove Roszaidi to collect a bag of drugs from two Malaysians who were in a parked lorry.
While awaiting instructions on what to do with the drugs, Roszaidi called his wife and told her that he needed her to “come down to take something” from him and to bring along a plastic bag. He did not tell her he was handing her drugs.
Azli then drove to Jurong West Street 91, where Roszaidi passed the drugs to his wife who was waiting along the road.
Roszaidi was convicted of trafficking in 32.54g of pure heroin by the High Court in January 2019.
He appealed against his sentence, and his lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam sought to have his sentence reduced to life imprisonment on the ground that he was suffering from an abnormality of mind that substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts.
On Thursday, the majority of the five-judge panel – Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Justices Judith Prakash and Belinda Ang – said Roszaidi’s decision to traffic drugs was significantly influenced by his need to obtain drugs for his own consumption.
“In our judgment, this decision was not a reasoned choice or the consequence of rational judgment, but rather ‘the product of a disordered mind’... caused by the overriding force of his substance use disorder when it was exacerbated by his major depressive disorder,” said Chief Justice Menon.
“These mental disorders impaired his ability to control his actions to the extent that his overriding preoccupation at the relevant time was procuring and consuming drugs.”
Dissenting Justices Andrew Phang and Steven Chong, however, concluded that Roszaidi’s rational judgment was not sufficiently impaired at the time, and that he was thinking in a logical and organised manner.
The two judges said the transfer of the drugs to his wife appeared to have been motivated by self-preservation.
The fact that Roszaidi’s wife subsequently became implicated was the unintended consequence of his deliberate decision to avoid detection by the Central Narcotics Bureau, said the minority in their decision.
SINGAPORE - There were fewer workplace deaths and major injuries in the third quarter of 2022, but the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council warned that greater vigilance is needed to ensure this improvement is sustained in the coming months.
Last week, two more workers died while on the job, taking the workplace fatality toll in 2022 to 42, the highest in four years. There were 37 work-related deaths in 2021, 30 in 2020, and 39 in 2019.
“With the end-of-year festive season coming, we urge the industry and workers to remain vigilant and follow safe work procedures,” the council said on Wednesday, when it released national workplace safety statistics for the three months between July and September.
“We would like to remind employers to continue to prioritise WSH so that we have a safe and healthy end to 2022,” it said.
Nine workers died in the third quarter of 2022, down from 19 in the second quarter, and on a par with the nine work-related deaths recorded in the first quarter.
A total of 138 workers suffered major injuries while on the job between July and September, down from 145 between April and June, and 153 between January and March. Examples of major injuries include amputation, serious fractures and blindness.
Minor workplace injuries ticked up in the third quarter as compared with the second quarter, rising to 5,495 from 5,327. This was comparable with the 5,485 minor workplace injuries recorded in the third quarter of 2021.
Of the nine workplace deaths in the third quarter of 2022, five were due to vehicle-related accidents, a concern that has been flagged by the authorities before.
The WSH Council said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is in the midst of a three-month enforcement operation that is focused on vehicle safety at higher-risk firms in the manufacturing, construction, and transport and storage sectors.
The ministry conducted a similar two-month operation in late 2021 that involved inspecting 400 workplaces in the same three industries. MOM did not share further details about the operations when asked.
The WSH Council said the recent improvement came after the imposition of stiffer penalties and a six-month heightened safety period from Sept 1, 2022 to Feb 28, 2023. During this period, companies are barred from hiring new foreign workers for up to three months if severe lapses are found following a serious or fatal workplace accident.
Company chief executives also have to personally account for the lapses to MOM and take responsibility for correcting them.
On Tuesday, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad told Parliament that the heightened safety period has shown “promising results”, with the average number of workplace deaths each month dipping from about 4½ to two since Sept 1.
Heightened enforcement and industry engagement also led to increased reporting of noise-induced deafness, the WSH Council said on Wednesday. It cited this as the reason behind an increase in occupational diseases reported in the third quarter of 2022, compared with the two quarters before.
Registered WSH officer Han Wenqi believes the tougher measures have helped to better the safety culture and practices in Singapore, with the heightened safety period raising alertness, especially among company management.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general Melvin Yong repeated a call for all companies here to set up a dedicated safety committee.
This is in the light of the two most recent worker deaths, and the fact that more than half of the 558 companies penalised in a recent MOM enforcement operation were repeat offenders.
Mr Yong urged companies here to ensure workers are adequately trained before they are assigned hazardous tasks, and that there is comprehensive risk management before work starts.
He also reiterated earlier calls for more channels to be made easily available for reporting WSH lapses, empowering workers to stop work if conditions are not safe, and for more technology to adopted.
World needs to address gender bias, and chart inclusive paths of growth post-pandemic: President Halimah
SINGAPORE - Women play an indispensable role in the sustainability space, but beyond climate change, they continue to face gender bias in other areas that need to be addressed as the world recovers from Covid-19.
Delivering the keynote speech at the 17th Women’s Forum Global Meeting on Thursday, President Halimah Yacob noted that the pandemic has disproportionately affected women around the world.
“As we embark on global recovery efforts, we should seize the opportunities the pandemic has brought about, and chart new paths of growth and development that are more sustainable and inclusive,” said Madam Halimah, who delivered her speech virtually.
The event in Paris saw participants, including top female leaders from various sectors, discuss issues such as the climate crisis and the rise of global conflicts.
Madam Halimah said that women are indispensable partners in the sustainability space.
She cited a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which showed that women are more likely to recycle, minimise wastage and practise sustainable consumption habits.
But there remain barriers for women such as a lack of equal opportunities in the workplace, unconscious gender bias perpetuating traditional notions on what women can be, and digital gender gaps.
In her speech, Madam Halimah cited Singapore’s experience in addressing these challenges.
She said the Republic in 1961 passed the Women’s Charter, which institutionalised the equal standing of men and women in marriage here, improved healthcare services for women, and ensured equal access to education for boys and girls.
As a result, literacy rates of women aged 15 and above in Singapore have doubled from about 42 per cent to more than 96 per cent. Women today make up almost 30 per cent of Parliament as well.
Singapore wants to go further, Madam Halimah said.
For example, the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development, published earlier in 2022, spells out 25 action plans covering areas such as strengthening workplace fairness, entrenching flexible work arrangements and increasing women’s representation on boards.
Madam Halimah noted that the pandemic has shown it is possible for workers to work from home.
Entrenching flexible work arrangements will help women to participate more fully in the workplace and allow both men and women to balance their responsibilities within and outside work, she added.
“Properly organised and implemented with a clear evaluation mechanism in place, hybrid work can open up more opportunities for women to enter the job market or remain working without compromising productivity,” she said, adding that hybrid work provides many women with the option to remain economically active and financially independent.
She called on employers to look at the best way to recruit and retain talent, and said that women form an important component of the talent pool.
But beyond legislation and policies, a whole of-society partnership is needed to engender broader mindset shifts, said Madam Halimah. These include breaking gender biases and traditional expectations of roles that men and women play.
She urged men to play a greater role in caregiving, and employers to foster a more supportive and family-friendly workplace culture.
The President also said that parents and teachers can encourage both boys and girls, starting from a young age, not to be limited by gender stereotypes.
“Through this whole-of-society partnership approach, I look forward to a more equitable and inclusive future, where every man and woman is valued, and every woman has an equal opportunity to achieve her aspirations.”
Madam Halimah also spoke at the forum in 2020 and 2021, as well as when Singapore hosted the Women’s Forum Singapore in 2018 and the Women’s Forum Asia in 2019.
Other speakers at the 17th Women’s Forum Global Meeting included Spanish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economy and Digitalisation Nadia Calvino, Unesco assistant director-general for the social and human sciences Gabriela Ramos and Singapore Management University president Lily Kong.
SINGAPORE – More than 8kg of illegal drugs were seized and six people were arrested in a Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) operation on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The drugs have a total estimated street value of $304,000, said CNB in a statement on Thursday.
These comprise 8,194g of cannabis, 415g of heroin, 1,108 Erimin-5 tablets, 30 LSD stamps, and 1,152g of substances believed to be controlled drugs.
The bureau said the amount of cannabis seized could supply about 1,160 abusers for a week, while the amount of heroin seized could last about 200 abusers for a week.
On Tuesday evening, CNB officers arrested a 24-year-old man and 25-year-old woman in Havelock Road. It did not state the location, but it released photos of its officers searching a Volkswagen car. About 4,901g of cannabis, two tablets of Erimin-5, and 397g of substances believed to be controlled drugs were found in the car, and about 10g of substances believed to be controlled drugs were also recovered from the woman.
The pair were later escorted to their hideout in a condominium unit in Upper Paya Lebar Road, where officers arrested a 46-year-old man and 32-year-old woman. About 3,289g of cannabis, 382g of heroin, 1,106 Erimin-5 tablets, 30 LSD stamps and 723g of substances believed to be controlled drugs, as well as various drug paraphernalia, were seized in the unit.
CNB officers also nabbed a 54-year-old man when he returned to the hideout later that evening. About 14g of cannabis, 33g of heroin and 7g of substances believed to be controlled drugs were recovered from the man.
The sixth suspect, a 41-year-old man, was arrested on the ground floor of the condominium block and escorted to his home in Anchorvale Road on Wednesday, where about 15g of substances believed to be controlled drugs were seized.
Investigations into the suspects’ drug activities are ongoing.
Anyone found guilty of trafficking more than 15g of pure heroin, 250g of methamphetamine or 500g of cannabis may face the death penalty.
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