Bedok resident asked to assist with NEA investigation after cameras catch someone smoking outside HDB unit

The letter from the NEA states, "You are hereby required to take reasonable steps to provide relevant information of the offence such as the identity and address of the person who was smoking on or about the time of the alleged offence.”

Singapore — After a thermal camera captured someone smoking outside a HDB unit in Bedok, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is asking a resident from the block to assist in investigations.

The person smoking in the HDB corridors was caught on camera not only once but multiple times allegedly between April 11 and 14, between 4:30 and 11:30 pm.

On June 6, the NEA wrote a letter to the resident living at Block 620, Bedok Reservoir Road. In it, the Agency stated that it possessed a video of “people smoking at the corridor … and entering/exiting from the unit” at twelve different times.

The letter from the NEA reads: “Our investigations revealed that you are the lessee of the said premise.

You are hereby required to take reasonable steps to provide relevant information of the offence such as the identity and address of the person who was smoking on or about the time of the alleged offence.”

In September of last year, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor announced that the Agency was looking into the option of using “thermal cameras to deter indiscriminate smoking”.

When Channel NewsAsia (CNA) asked NEA regarding complaints about smoking at the HDB block, the Agency said it has received 13 of these complaints as of February this year.

The NEA told CNA, “Following receipt of feedback from the residents, NEA had distributed educational pamphlets and worked with the town council to engage the residents.

NEA had also conducted multiple rounds of surveillance at the block, including deployment of a thermal camera.”

The thermal camera caught someone smoking in the corridor on a dozen separate occasions.

According to the Agency, “NEA has commenced investigations, which includes serving the letter to the lessee, and will take appropriate actions once investigations have completed.”

Upon receiving the letter, the recipient has been given 14 days to furnish the NEA with information about the event. Failure to comply with this could result in the resident being charged under Section 4B of the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act.

And if found guilty, the resident may be fined an amount not greater than S$2,000 for the first offense.

The NEA also told CNA that there have been around 70 thermal cameras installed since the beginning of the year in residential areas, as well as other places where the agency has received repeated complaints about smoking.

According to the Agency, “The thermal camera enables NEA to further enhance our enforcement operations and capability to detect smoking at prohibited areas.

These thermal cameras are able to detect objects emitting high heat and can capture images of the smoking offence.”

Last year over 30,000 tickets for smoking in prohibited areas were issued by the NEA, and the Agency has reaffirmed its stand to “continue to take enforcement action against smokers who flout the law.”

A Facebook user by the name of Mohamed Rasid Bin Abdullah shared a copy of a letter from the NEA addressed to a Bedok resident, asking him to give them the names and addresses of his guests who smoked in the corridor outside his unit.

The dates indicated in the letter, April 11 to 14, are the same as in the letter that the NEA confirmed sending.

It is unknown whether Mr Mohamed is the recipient of the letter since it is addressed to a Mr Daud. The Independent has reached out to Mr Mohamed to confirm whether he or someone he knows is a recipient of the letter.

On his Facebook post, Mr Mohamed wrote: “Be careful when there’s a guest coming to celebrate raya and smoke cigarettes in our corridor. If there is a camera later the owner of the house gets a letter of summons…”/ TISG

Read related: NEA demands that HDB homeowner must identify guests who smoked in the corridors