Over S$1,000 of goods were seized by police in a raid operation at the junction of Lorong 16 Geylang last Wednesday (2 December) night, which also saw four illegal vendors fined S$300 each.
Lianhe Zaobao reported that a reader had given Shin Min Daily News a tip-off through Shin Min’s 24-hour hotline.
The reader told Shin Min Daily News that he saw around 10 police officers taking enforcement actions against the vendors who illegally set up stalls on the grass.
When the Shin Min Daily News’ reporter arrived at the scene at around 10 pm, they found that police had cordoned the area.
Uniformed and plainclothes police officers were seen seizing package of goods and loading the goods into the police vehicle.
One of the vendors, Mr Lim, aged 65, told the reporter that he could not find a full-time job after he was retrenched from his job five years ago.
He said that although he receives financial assistance every month, it is still not enough to cover the expenses.
This prompted him to set up a stall in Geylang last month.
“The second-hand goods such as clothes and trousers that I sold were all consigned by others, and each was sold for only S$2 and S$3. But now the goods have been seized. I haven’t made any profit, yet I owe S$500 to the others,” Mr Lim added.
Another 56-year-old vendor who sell phone accessories and radio said he felt helpless when his goods were seized.
“I had a stall at Sungei Road Flea Market before, and I only came to Geylang just the day before yesterday, but didn’t expect that the police would carry out a raid here after I set up the stall here for two nights,” the vendor told reporter.
Three years ago on 10 July 2017, the famous Sungei Road Flea Market — also called Thieves’ Market — closed its roads to vendors after 80 years of operation, as the Singapore Government took back the land the market was set up on for residential development, most notably the Jalan Besar MRT station.
The Thieves’ Market, which opened in the 1930s, evolved into a popular spot for patrons searching for second-hand goods such as clothes and even rare antiques and collectables.
The 300 peddlers at the Thieves’ Market ranged from older individuals who have been in the business for years to younger startups looking for a place to launch their products.
Around 70 per cent of the peddlers were found to be seniors between 60 and 80 of age.
The Government has also reportedly declined to relocate the vendors, despite repeated requests from the vendors, Members of Parliament and civil society groups.
Senior Minister of State Amy Khor previously stated in Parliament that the market is not of the same nature with the original market, as it sells goods that are available in shops, and consumers can choose to buy second-hand goods online via platforms such as Carousell.