On Sunday (7 April), a man claimed that he was fined S$200 for smoking in the designated smoking area in Orchard Road, merely because he had one foot outside of the box.
The smoker by the name Apiz Mikaelson took to his Facebook to highlight this incident as he did not know that he would be fined as he still had one foot within the delineated yellow box for smoking.
In his post, Apiz wrote,
“Share this post, dont give more money to those assholes. So I barely go to Orchard road. Maybe once or twice a year or less. I just Ord-ed bout a month+ ago, I know theres this new law, the no smoking implementation whereby youve to smoke in designated areas blah3. That I know. But what I DIDNT know was that you could be fined for having the other foot out of the yellow box. Told the clown okay Ill move inside cause I legitly didnt know, but the asshat didnt wanna take no for an answer. Probably didnt hit the quota today. What a joke. Do share this around, dont give any more money to these fools and be really careful where you smoke, theyre everywhere ”
At the time of writing, the man’s Facebook account has been deactivated, however, the content of his post and the picture of his summon were shared by online sharing platform, Lion City Feed.
According to the World of Buzz, the man was actually a Malaysian, and he was fined by an auxiliary police officer who did not give him the chance to put his leg back into the smoking zone. Therefore, he took a picture of his ticket and shared it online as a reminder to the public on how strict the lurking officers are.
It appeared that the National Environment Agency (NEA) noted that the man was indeed outside of the smoking area, based on its investigations and video footage.
NEA told The Straits Times (ST) that it has investigated the event, reviewed the case and was pleased with the actions taken by its enforcement officers as they were appropriate and followed its standard operating procedures.
“Our officers had observed the male subject smoking outside of the designated smoking area and approached him, and he was cooperative throughout the engagement,” said NEA’s spokesman.
They also added that video footage did show that the man was smoking outside the designated smoking area, hence was issued the fine.
From 1 April, Orchard Road has been transformed into a no-smoking zone, and actions will be taken against smokers who are seen holding a lit cigarette or smoking outside a designated smoking area.
NEA said that in case of not having sufficient space to smoke in the designated area, smokers are advised to wait until there is enough space to move in, or head to the next nearest designated smoking area.
On social media, netizens complained about the officers’ inflexibility to fine the man despite having his one foot inside the box. They mentioned that the officers could have just advised him to put his one foot back inside the box, and only fine him if he refuses to listen to their advice.
However, others felt that it was the smoker’s fault for testing the system as he should have kept his both feet inside the box if he wants to smoke in Orchard Road. Some opined that smoking should be banned or people should quit smoking altogether to solve this problem.