Why is it wrong to ask your foreign workers to queue for Bak Kwa

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First of all, I would like to explain what is Bak Kwa for some who are not familiar with Singapore. Bak Kwa is a kind of barbecue meat jerky that is usually made of pork or chicken. During Chinese New Year, it is considered a must-buy food for the celebration mostly for Chinese. But in Singapore, no matter what race or religion you are, most of the Singaporeans like it. (This links back to the early days when the Chinese are poor, having meat is considered a luxury item and hence only consumed during the festive season).

Before Chinese New Year season, queuing for Bak Kwa from a famous Bak Kwa outlet (like Lim Chee Guan) is norm and time-consuming process. Besides queuing hours for fresh grilled Bak Kwa, you have to withstand either the hot or rainy days. So came this idea of employers paying their foreign workers to queue early in the morning instead of queuing themselves.


Wrong to Ask Foreign Workers to Run Non-work Related Errands

Foreign workers might be happy to queue for their employers instead of working under the sun, but Singapore’s Migrant Worker Rights Group and Ministry of Manpower have different views of such actions.

Deployment of these foreign workers for an activity other than stated in their work permit is against the law as these tasks are not officially permitted. While the conservative view is will these foreign workers be precluded from employment protections of accident happened during the course of action?

Opinions might be different for everyone, some might think this is over reacting, while some may oppose as it might not be really a good choice to do so. However, thinking back, if local Singaporeans employees are asked to queue for the Bak Kwa, is that also a wrong deployment in the employment scope of work? I will leave you to ponder on this question.

By the way, the employers are not fined for asking these foreign workers to queue for the Bak Kwa.

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Get jailed for selling codeine-based cough syrup without proper customer records

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Bottles of codeine-based cough syrup
Image Credit: Channel News Asia

Singapore has been battling to keep drugs out of the country since independence and in 1973, the law is enacted to punish those that break these laws with heavy punishments including long term imprisonment, canes and capital punishments.

So what does these drug addicts do ? They abused medication by taking them excessively to resemble the “kick” they have while taking drugs. Of course, when there is buyers, there will be sellers as well.

Recent case that one register pharmacist, William Woo Tat Meng, sole proprietor of Community Pharmacy at Bukit Timah Plaza who illegally sold codeine-based cough syrup to customers with falsified records to keep his bad deed under the radar of the law enforcement. But soon his act is caught after HSA officers stopped a 42-year-old man on 23rd April 2015 at 3pm where he has procured 14 bottles of 120ml Dhasedyl syrup which he paid 20 dollars for each bottle.

What is Codeine ?

“Codeine is a pain reliver and cough suppressant which is a relatively mild opiate. It is often found in prescription strength cough syrups, or in a combination formulation with various other analgesics (for example, with acetaminophen). However, it is also often abused due to its euphoric side effects and an addictive drug with potentially dangerous effects at high dosages.”

He sold 220,440 bottles containing more than 2,450 litres of Dhasedyl syrup to customers over a period of nearly two years, from May 2013 until April 2015 when he was caught red-handed. He has made a profit of at least S$ 244,529 from selling the syrup. However, he has admitted that he has been selling Dhasedyl syrup for about 10 years.


Under Singapore Poisons Act, pharmacists are not allowed to sell more than 240ml of codeine cough syrup to a customer at any one time. They also have to record the name and identity card number of the customer, and the quantity of codeine cough syrup sold daily in a book that is kept solely for this purpose.

The 58-year-old sole proprietor was jailed for eight months and three weeks, becoming the first pharmacist to be found guilty of improper selling of codeine under the law.

Under the Poisons Act, offenders could have faced up to two year’s in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 per charge.

Where Can Drug Addicts Seek Help ?

Usage of abusive drugs is not only about breaking the law but also destroy yourself and lives of your loved ones. You can save yourself or your loved one by winning the battle against drugs. It is never too late to seek help and recover from drug addiction.

The following organisations can help you or your loved one to overcome the toxic influences of drugs and get you back to track with your normal life.

Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA)
2 Sengkang Square, Sengkang Community Hub, #05-01
Singapore 545025
Tel: 6732 1122
Fax: 6732 4564
Email: sana@sana.org.sg
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri from 8.30am to 10.00pm

National Addictions Management Services (NAMS)
Block 9 (Level 1), Buangkok Green Medical Park
10 Buangkok View
Singapore 539747
Tel: 6-7326837 (6-RECOVER) (24 hours helpline), 6389 2000 (General Enquiries)
Email: nams@imh.com.sg (general enquiries)

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What is the Fine for taking Upskirts Videos to “De-stress”

Everyone know that life’s is stress nowadays and it is not only to the adults, so are the students. In finding a way to “de-stress”, Malaysian Li Yaw Chung, a student at UniSIM decided to record upskirt videos of various women on escalators at shopping malls and elsewhere.

After he has been caught, he told the police that he enjoyed the thrill of taking upskirt videos and more so enjoyed the thrill at the possibility of being caught. He thought of it as a challenge and needed the thrill to de-stress.
He was caught at Lot One Shoppers’ Mall at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4 on 8th April 2015 after a Singaporean has witnessed him filming the upskirt videos of three unidentified women with his mobile phone.

While there are also other occasions which he has took upskirt videos at various shopping centres and even at the train station nearby his school.

He pleaded guilty to 12 counts of insulting the modesty of a woman, with 14 other charges taken into consideration. On 2nd Sep 2016, he was given a 16 weeks’ jail term for the offences.

He could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined for each count of insulting modesty.

Singapore stepped up enforcement against motorists on evasion of tolls fees at checkpoint

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Singapore and Malaysia has been linked via two bridges across the straits, namely the Woodlands checkpoint and Tuas checkpoint.

With strong businesses and employment linked between these two countries, there are more than 400,000 people and 130,000 vehicles crossing customs everyday. Do note that Woodlands checkpoint is one of the busiest checkpoint in the world, attributed be people staying in Johor Bahru and coming to Singapore for work purposes.

Though Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has stepped up enforcements and put up additional signages to remind motorist to pay the respective tolls and fees, there are still motorists that would take the risk of evading toll charges, Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fees and fixed Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) fees when entering or leaving Singapore through both checkpoints.

Higher Composition Fines

Hence, LTA decided to introduced new fines for motorist from 1st August 2016 onwards that a composition fine of S$50 for motorists who evade the tolls and fees, while repeating offenders will have to pay S$100. This was five times more from the S$10 administrative fee payable currently.

In addition, motorists who do not pay the composition sum and then charged for tolls and fees evasion are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$1,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months for first offence.

Stricter Road Traffic Rules

On the other hand, LTA is exploring possibilities on amending the Road Traffic Act to prohibit the entry and exit of foreign vehicles with unpaid tolls, fees, taxes, penalties or composition sums payable or due.

Who Needs To Pay Tolls & Fees

Tolls are applicable to all Singapore and Malaysia registered vehicles and Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fees are applicable to all foreign-registered cars and motorcycles while fixed ERP fees are applicable to foreign-registered cars that does not have a In-Vehicle Unit (IU) onboard and use an ERP-priced roads.

Confused ? Well, you can see in a clearer picture from the information published by the authority below.

tolls and fees for entering Singapore checkpoints
Tolls & Fees tables from LTA
Image: Land Transport Authority

 

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You cannot operate a massage parlour in Singapore without a valid licence

What is the fine for operating a massage parlour without valid licence ?
Image Credit: Flickr

In Singapore, it is always not difficult to locate a massage parlours as massage parlours has been popping up everywhere, from the city area till neighbourhood, operating from daytime till late night.
However, this has make it extreme difficult for those looking for authentic, good massage as some of these parlours are out to offer “special services”, some are triads controlled for money laundering purposes and some even operating without a valid licence.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has conducted enforcement operations and caught seven massage parlours operating without valid licence. Some of the massage parlours were also found providing “special services” to the clients as well.

In accordance to Singapore’s Massage Establishment Act, anyone operating a massage parlour without a valid licence shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and to a further fine not exceeding $50 for every day during which the offence continues after conviction.

Where to find authentic massage ?

Of course there are hotspots for massage parlours establishment are littered in areas like Chinatown, Little India, Jalan Besar, Middle Road, Jalan Sultan and Coleman Street. These areas provides a mixture of traditional massage and “special services” massage parlours. If you are not really sure, do ask before trying out the service.

The other solutions, to check whether if the massage parlour establishment is legit, you can try searching through the CaseTrust Accredited Business, Spa & Wellness Association Singapore or Spa Association Singapore.

Last but not the least, you can check massage / spa reviews from local bloggers to gauge the services provided by these massage parlours.

Singapore calls for stiffer fines on idling engines

Stiffer fines for repeat offenders who leave vehicle engines idling from June 1

One of the increasing concerns in developed cities was the increasing air pollution from the emission of the vehicles. These emission contribute to the increase levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, not only leading to global warming, but also contribute to increasing health problems and cancers.

While many car manufacturers are working hard to invent cleaner and lesser emission car (though Volkswagen decides to cheat) , the increasing number of cars in the cities will definitely fuelled air pollution further. As such, many countries’ authorities are starting to create more awareness of emission and regulations to curb further damage to the environment. That is no exceptional for Singapore as well.

Related: What Is The Fine For “Driving Thru” A Police Road Block

Stiffer Fines for Offenders

As early as in 2008, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) has been actively addressing this issue and passed a law under the Environmental Protection and Management Act to clamp down motorists who leaves their engine idling. However, there is was a sharp increase of engine idling offences over the years, NEA has imposed a stiffer fines for offenders.

Starting from 1st June 2016, motorist caught leaving their vehicle’s engine idling for a second or subsequent time shall be liable for a composition fine of $100, up from the current $70. If the composition sum is not paid, the offenders is liable to a maximum court fine of $5,000 upon conviction.

Related: Fines For Driving On Bus Lane During Designated Hours

Exception Cases

Though regulations apply to all motorist, but there are some scenarios which you will not be penalise.

  • Vehicles that requires engines to be switched on and running to power onboard machinery such as refrigerated trucks, concrete mixers, etc.
  • taxis/buses in queue at their designated stops, stands or terminals waiting to pick up/drop off passengers.
  • Law enforcement or emergency vehicles such as ambulances and police cars.
  • Vehicles undergoing maintenance check and inspection

Related: Drink Driving Will Revolve Your Licence In Singapore

Reasons Why Turning Off Engine is Good for You

Staying inside the vehicle, idling the engine while enjoying the air condition ? It might be the best comfort at that point of time, but definitely not the best for your health and wallet. Find out why you should turn off the engine and how it benefits you.

  1. The vehicle emits carbon monoxide while it was idling and depending on the maintenance done, leak from the exhaust will caused accumulation of CO which reduces the amount of oxygen needed for breathing air. Switch off the engine and get out of the car. Step out of the vehicle to inhale some fresh air while doing some stretching. In this case, you minimise your exposure to harmful gases and release your body from a fixed posture that might cause backaches.
  2. Though oil prices all over the world dipped dramatically over the months, apparently it is not happening in Singapore. With Singapore’s petrol and diesel prices (est. $2.30 for petrol and $1.10 for diesel) stagnant without much adjustment and economy downturn, it is time to save a few pennies by using lesser fuel. You can have better usage on the money saved.
  3. Mileage on the vehicles set only as a guideline on when you should carry out a maintenance, but excessive engine idling will increase wear and tear. By switching off the engine, you can lower your maintenance fees needed for the vehicle.
There is a great list of benefits that could help you and the environment, so why not give it a try ? Or you can get of Alon Musk’s electric car.

Reporting Someone Idling Engine ?

If you have spotted vehicles with the engine idling, you can report to the NEA providing details such as vehicle number, location, date and time of the incidents via the following communication channels:

  • NEA Hotline: 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632)
  • Email: Contact_NEA@nea.gov.sg
  • myENV mobile app (iPhone and Android)

What is the price to pay for Spitting in the Public in Singapore

Wayne Rooney spitting on the football field
Hey Rooney, better not do that in Singapore publicly. Image: The Week

In many countries in the world, spitting on the streets is a common sight. This is specially in countries like Myanmar or Taiwan where chewing Betelnut are legal and filling the streets with red stains from the “juice” of the Betelnut. That will be a total different story in Singapore.

As to most of the foreigners, Singapore is well-known for its cleaness on the streets. That was also due to the strict enforcement by the government for such ungracious and unhygienic action.  The enforcement was implemented as early as mid-1980s but it becomes more stringent after the 2003 SARs outbreak. National Envoirnment Agency (NEA) stiffened its stand against the spitting habit in public.

Related: Corrective Work Order & Fines for Littering in Public in Singapore

Spitting – A Health Threat

From a medical point of view, spitting is not only just a social issue, but poses harmful to the environment. A research was conducted and studies show that coronavirus that is present in phlegm, sputum (mucus) and saliva can survive up to 6 hours in the air and more than 24 hours if the environment condition is optimal for the virus.

Hence, through spitting in the public, people are being exposed to virus that cannot be seen through naked eyes. It increases the risks of people being infected with the similar virus, for example SARs or MERS-CoV.

Related: Get Ready to be Fined for Drinking Alcohol in Late Night in Public

Stepping Up With The Enforcement

Since late 2012, a voluntary scheme was introduced, called “Community Volunteer Programme” that focus on catching litterbugs. 153 volunteers from five non-governmental organisations like the Public Hygiene Council, Waterways Watch Society, Cat Welfare Society and Singapore Kindness Movement has been trained and authorised to engage litterbugs.

However, in 2014, the Singapore’s authorities looks into increasing the authority not only to litterbugs, but also to offenders whom spit, urinate and smoke in prohibited places. Though there was ongoing discussion for the community volunteers to carry out such duties, the scheme has not yet been finalise.

A similar programme was carried out in UK as well and they have successfully prosecuted two youngsters to pay up 300 pounds for spitting in public.

Related: Fined for Smoking Indoors or Air-conditioned Public Places

What Is The Penalty ?

According to Environmental Public Health Act (Chapter 95, Section 113), spitting or expelling mucous from the nose, onto the street or floor which the public has access is liable of a fine not exceeding

  • S$ 1,000 for first offence;
  • S$ 2,000 for second offence and;
  • S$ 5,000 for third and subsequent offence

Related: Fined for Smoke Cigarettes Without Health Warning Labels in Public

So Where Should You Spit ?

If you need to spit, it is advisable to spit onto a piece of tissue and throw into the nearby rubbish bin or finding the nearest public toilet to do the dirty job. That will save you hundreds of dollars and why bother to take the risk ? However, spitting into one’s face does not spare you from getting the fine as well, like what Juraimi Kamaludin did.

This article was updated on 12 May 2016.

What is the fine for “driving thru” a road block in Singapore

What is the fine for "driving thru" a road block in Singapore

In Singapore, there are regular road blocks being conducted in the night by the traffic police to check on drivers – especially those that are driving under alcohol influence and suspected on drug trafficking. The operations are normally conducted in the late night in islandwide scale and randomly without any fixed dates.

If you are thinking of dashing across a road block in Singapore, you better think twice. A normal road block are usually conducted with a team of traffic police that consist of few units of police vehicles as well as motorcycles on standby. In case of evading a road block, there will be no qualms they will give you a chase, usually in pairs.

Any person convicted of evading a road block shall be liable to a fine of up to S$5,000 or up to 12 months imprisonment, or both.

Despite the strict regulations and fines, there are still 17 cases of road block evasions in the first quarter of 2016.

Related: Get ready to be fined for driving car into Singapore’s custom without a three quarter full tank

Beware being fined for drinking in late night hours in the public

Alcohol banned in late night in public places in singapore

It was no questions that drinking in the public is definitely not flouting the law, unless you are being a nuisance to the public which enforcers will come into pictures. However, it paints a different picture in Singapore.

A new law has passed on 1st April 2015 under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act which drinking alcohol is banned in all public places from 10.30pm to 7am. Retail shops are also not allowed to sell takeaway alcohol from 10.30pm to 7am as well.

Related: Drive drinking in Singapore will cost you your driving licence

What is the reason behind the ban ?

Foreign workers hurling objects at emergency vehicles at little india on 2013
Foreign workers seen hurling objects at emergency vehicles which they have overturned earlier.
Image: TNP.

Although there are already looming concerns over teenagers buying booze and seating in public areas, drinking and chatting away, there wasn’t a strict enforcement until the riot that broke out in Little India on 8th December 201344 years after the major communal riots in 1969.

The riot was sparked by a fatal accident when a Indian foreign worker, Sakthivel Kumarvelu, was run over by a private bus and was instantly killed. It angered the crowd (mostly foreign workers) which gathered more than 300 of them. Though the police, ambulance, Singapore Civil Defence Force have arrived at scene, they are being attacked by the mob, damaging 23 emergency vehicles, which 5 were torched. There was also 8 civilians that were injured in the riot as well.

The government took action immediately to mitigate the issues by setting up a Committee of Inquiry (COI) which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called upon to examined the testimonies of more than 300 witness.

In order to minimise public disorder, a banned was being imposed on the consumption and sales of alcohol in public places.

Related: Corrective Work Order and Fines for littering in Public in Singapore

Geylang and Little India designated as “Liquor Control Zones”

An immediate ban was imposed at Little India in 2013 starting from 6am on Saturdays and end at 6am on Monday, while on public holidays and the eve of public holidays, it starts at 6am on the eve and end at 6am the day after the public holiday.

In 1st April 2015, the Parliament has passed a revised law, zoning Geylang and Little India as Liquor Control Zones, which both areas are flooded with foreign workers during the weekend.

The law banned these two places from public drinking from 7am on Saturday to 7am on Monday every week. It also applies from 7pm of the eve of a public holiday to 7am of the day after public holiday.

Shops in Geylang and Little India are also prohibited to sell takeaway alcohol from 7pm on weekends, eve of public holidays, and public holidays.

Except for the two zones above, drinking is banned in all public places and retail shop are prohibited to sell takeaway alcohol from 10.30pm to 7am.
You can find out more extensive information of the ban here.

What are the penalty for flouting the ban ?

It is stated that anyone drinking illegally can be fined up to S$1,000 and repeat offenders may be fined up to S$2,000 and jailed for up to three months. 
A shop selling alcohol after the permitted hours could be fined up to S$10,000.
Tan Gak Hin slapped with S$1,000 fine for consuming alcohol after prohibited hours in public
Image: The Straits Time

In addition, a stricter penalty was imposed in Liquor Control Zone which offenders could be fine up to 1.5 times of the penalty above if caught breaking the law.

The first prosecution took place on 5th May 2016 which a 52-year-old man, Tan Gak Hin,  pleaded guilty consuming liquor during prohibited hours on 22nd February 2016. He was slapped with a S$1,000 fine subsequently for the offence.

Traffic Police and LTA reviewing measure to curb heavy vehicles speeding issues

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Two transport authorities in Singapore, Traffic Police and Land Transport Authority aka LTA has announced on the review of current measures to curb speeding by heavy vehicles.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said this in Parliament on Tuesday (5th April), in reply to a question filed by Mr. Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC).

The proposed measure was to install speed counters on heavy vehicles, which allows it to register each time the speed limit is exceeded for a prolonged period – An existing device that is retrofitted onto Singapore’s military vehicles to prevent personnel from speeding.

It is understood at the present moment that goods vehicles with a maximum laden weight exceeding 12 tons or public service vehicles exceeding 10 tons are speed-restricted with speed limiter during the initial usage of the vehicles.

In addition, vehicles are to be sent for annual inspection to ensure the speed limiters are working and if these heavy vehicles are caught speeding, there will be additional inspections requested at shorter timeframe intervals to check on these drivers.

Tampering of Speed Limiters

While some vehicle owners/drivers tend to tamper with the speed limiter in order to drive at a faster speed.

Those found tampering with the speed limiting device can be fined up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to three months, while repeat offenders can be fined up to $2,000 or imprisonment up to six months.

Demerit Point System For Offenders

For the current penalties for heavy vehicle drivers caught speeding, the fines ranging from $160 to $200 and four to eight points demerit points for exceeding the speed limit by up to 40 km/h. Those exceeded the speed limit by more than 40 km/h will be charged in court and given 12 to 24 demerit points – which literally means revoke of driving license.

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