By Tiffany Gwee
A red spray-paint graffiti with profanities targeted towards the People’s Action Party (PAP) was found on the rooftop of a 22-storey Housing Development Board (HDB) flat located in Toa Payoh yesterday. The Police were notified about the graffiti at 6.47am in the morning and the mess was quickly painted over by 11.30am.
The police have classified this case as “vandalism” and investigations are still ongoing.
How did it happen?
One major question to ask regarding this incident is, “How exactly did it happen?” Could it be the work of tools, the fact that the previous person who opened the access left it unlocked or that the person who vandalised had the keys?
According to local news sources, the access hatch to the block’s rooftop was locked when police entered the site yesterday morning. From this, the possibility of the person breaking the lock is minimal, considering the fact that the lock did not seem to be broken or tampered with.
The Town Council confirmed that no one requested for the keys to the trapdoor. According to them, the keys would only be given to authorised personnel that are accompanied by an auxiliary police officer.
If the person did not break the lock nor have the keys, there seems to be a high chance that the lock was not properly locked in the first place.
Since the incident of a dead body being found in the water tank back in 2011 at Woodlands, the Town Councils had increased vigilance and tightened security regarding the access to rooftops.
This incident will once again open the questions centred around this supposedly more strict and secure rooftop access method.
Visit to the Site
I visited the access hatch yesterday afternoon to find out more about how the hatch looked like and where the ladder was located.
It seemed like the hatch was located in the middle of a row of houses. However, when asked by the news as to whether they heard noises in the midst of the night, a resident told the media that when she went to sleep at 1am, “it was quiet”.
I also managed to get a clear view of the parapet from another flat nearby – the ledge leading to the affected wall was extremely small and narrow. It would have been even more difficult to walk along that path in the darkness.
A few men were seen walking along the rooftop when I was looking over from the other block – most likely to scour the area after the incident.
There are no CCTVs or any form of cameras in the lift lobby or near the access – this will probably add on to the level of difficulty in apprehending the person/ people involved in this act of vandalizing.
The general feeling I got when I asked some of the shopowners and residents about the issue was that not everyone knew about it and most of them did not really care about the issue either.
A shopkeeper of a provision shop just under the block itself told me that he did not know about it until one of his customers informed him about the graffiti. “I don’t really care much about it,” he said, “but the person quite clever to be able to do it in the dark. It is not easy and it must have been dangerous also.” The shopkeeper was also adamant that the person who vandalised was “probably not living around the neighbourhood”.
One of residents who was also near the shop told me that he did see the graffiti in the morning. “A lot of people walked by and saw it as well. After that, there were many policemen and journalists who came here too.”
When I asked them as to why they think it happened, the shopowner said that the person probably was “not happy with the policies” due to the “high living standards in Singapore”.
However, he added that Singapore is a “peaceful country” and expressed contentment living here. He agreed that “no country is perfect” but “it might be time for the government to review some policies” before he gave a slight chuckle.
Coincidentally, yesterday marked the 3rd year anniversary since the General Elections back in 2011.