A 41-year-old man was charged in court today (15 Oct) for causing a fire which destroyed a wet market and two coffee shops in Jurong West. The man, Lim Ying Siang, allegedly set fire to styrofoam boxes at the market at Block 493 Jurong West Street 41. The incident happened on Tue (Oct 11) at 2.42am. The suspected arsonist is a Singaporean.
A video shared by Facebook user Kevin Van Persie of the suspect being brought to the incident spot by the authorities have gone viral.
Several commenters who responded to the video expressed outrage. Lim, is charged with the offence of committing mischief by fire with the intent to destroy a building, and could be jailed for life, or imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined.
Meanwhile the Southwest Community Development Council and Mr Ang Wei Neng, a Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC, met the affected stallholders yesterday (13 Oct). Those affected were offered S$500 in financial aid and were given a choice of relocating to other market and food stalls, some of which are located in the nearby areas.
The Housing & Development Board and the National Environment Agency were also in the meeting with the stallholders and assured them that they will be given help to relocate quickly, so that they may resume their businesses in a short period of time.
Mr Ang, speaking to reporters after the session said that the stallholders were “grateful” that they were able to get the leases from the alternative sites listed without having to go through the bidding process.
Many of the affected stallholders where anything but “grateful” about the help extended to them.
Speaking to the TODAY newspaper some stallholders said that they were not keen to move to the alternative sites.
67-year-old stallholder Mr Teo Yew Ngee who rented a flower shop at the wet market razed to the ground said that the nearest stall available for him was at Queenstown.
In adding that the stall offered was “too far”, Mr Teo said: “They’ve given us S$500 … but it’s not enough for our daily expenses (in the coming months).” He suffered about S$10,000 in losses.
Another stallholder who wanted to be identified only as Mr Cheng took issue with the lease period of the new stalls offered to them. According to Mr Cheng, the new stalls come with a short lease of 3 – 6 months.
He said: “If I invest S$10,000 just for a three-month lease, I might make another loss again, so this doesn’t really help us.” Mr Cheng ran a fishball noodles stall at the affected coffeeshop.
It may take a year to rebuild the wet market. The rental and conservancy charges for the affected stall holders will be waived during this period.