Parked your car in a private space and had your car wheel-clamped? Many would say that such drivers deserve it for parking their vehicles haphazardly.
But what if the land doesn't belong to the people who wheel-clamped the vehicle? And to what length would you go to correct the wrong?
A reader, Mr Yang wrote in to notify about this clinic that collects a wheel-clamp release fee of $300 which is not authorised by any authorities.
"On 15 Nov 2014, I had parked my car at a public slip road abutting a corner shophouse at 74 Thomson Road. There was no traffic lines, no reserved lots..etc to indicate no parking though there was a signboard stating this is 'private residence and ... shall be wheel-clamped '.
Thus I double-checked and verified with OneMap in my iPad. It stated clearly it is State Land so I know it's not their land. I locked my car and left.
Upon my return, my car was wheel-clamped. The car was pasted with 2 notes (see image) to go to 74 Thomson Road to have the clamp released at a fee of $300."
Mr Yang confronted the clinic about the wheel-clamp, showing them in OneMap on his iPad that the small area is State Land and does not belong to them. However, they insisted it was theirs and refused to unlock the wheel-clamp.
According to Mr Yang, the clinic went on to claim that they had authorisation from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to clamp and even challenged Mr Yang to call the Police, which he did.
When two police officers came to the scene, Mr Yang showed OneMap to them. The officers spoke to the staff for some time and came out saying they couldn't do anything nor ask for any form of verification document because the clinic has refused to do so.
"I was simply astounded, puzzled and helplessly 'paralysed'!" said Mr Yang when the police were helpless to do anything.
He continued to plead with the clinic to show the land ownerships or any form of LTA email or authorisation, but they simply ignored and refused to talk about the matter.
Mr Yang's wife called LTA's hotline as she took it that LTA must have the most detailed information that can verify land ownerships for parking. A lady officer from LTA replied her saying, 'If they say the land is theirs, it's theirs.'
"We were totally flabbergasted! I had also observed there was another Toyota Silver car that was wheel-clamped on the same day. We waited for the driver to return so that we could join forces to get them to unlock. But there was no sight of him."
After about an agonising 3 hours wait with his wife and two young daughters, with no help from LTA and the police, Mr Yang said he helplessly paid $300 to have the wheel-clamp released. An official print-out receipt was issued to him which had GST included.
Mr Yang returned to the clinic on Monday to check the private parking space again. He was shocked to find the Toyota car being wheel-clamped again.
But this time it was facing outwards. Previously on Saturday when his car was wheel clamped, the car was parked facing inwards.
Confirmation that plot of land is State Land
Not satisfied with how the matter turned out to be, Mr Yang wrote into LTA to verify if the parking space indeed belongs to the clinic. He then received an email from the LTA which confirms that the plot of land is State Land.
"I suspected it belonged to the shop and they had deliberately clamped it to mislead, lie and instill fear on the Public that it was their private land when it was not." said Mr Yang on the silver Toyota car that was wheel clamped on two occasions.
Clinic's action amounts to cheating?
Mr Yang asked if what the clinic is doing is illegal, cheating or an attempt to instill fear among the public. He also asked if the clinic had knowingly lied to the two police officers when they said they had LTA's authorisation despite the fact that they did not.
Mr Yang eventually lodged a police report against the clinic last year, and the investigation continued for more than four months.
According to Mr Yang, the final verdict from the Police was that the clinic was not supposed to collect the wheel clamp fee and was asked to remove the signboard.
The police wanted to return the $300 to Mr Yang, but Mr Yang refused the money as he was expecting the police to take further actions against the clinic than just returning the money to him.
The police said that they would not take any further action but added that it does not preclude anyone from seeking redress by taking civil proceedings if they wish to pursue the matter.
TOC has written to the clinic but has yet received any response and will update when they do.