Members of the public have been sharing photos and videos of allegedly homeless men sleeping overnight at the Zion Road Hawker Centre area.
According to the hawkers who work in the food centre, only about two men were camping out in the area regularly about five years ago but that number has steadily grown with 5 to 6 men in their 40s to 60s now sleeping overnight in the area regularly.
These middle-aged and elderly men have been spotted sleeping on the hawker centre benches and the stone benches bordering the Zion River, keeping their personal belongings underneath the hawker centre tables as they rest on the benches. Others reportedly lay paper or newspaper on the ground and sleep there.
Some men reportedly bring pillows to rest their heads on as they occupy the hard benches.
The hawker centre’s chairman, 57-year-old Mr Chen, told the Chinese daily that the these men arrive at the hawker centre around 10pm and make their bed in the vicinity around midnight, when most of the patrons and stallholders have left.
Despite this, it appears that the stallholders and patrons are aware that the men sleep overnight at the hawker centre and some eyewitnesses reported that some of the homeless men sleep there because they have friction with their families or because they are still waiting for rental flats, among other varied reasons.
Hawkers at the food centre told reporters that the homeless men do not cause trouble and that they even prevent robbers from striking. Hawkers have even provided free meals to the homeless who sleep at the food centre.
One hawker, 28-year-old Mr Lin told reporters: “The hawkers are very sympathetic to these tramps. They don’t bother the hawkers and customers, so everyone doesn’t mind.”