Author Topic: Condominium..MC management problems ....O$P$  (Read 12466 times)

Offline Austrich

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Condominium..MC management problems ....O$P$
« on: March 30, 2010, 14:48 »
Yio Chu Kang Condominium MC names late-payers of conservancy fees in O$P$ -style notices...is this the right way to treat residents ?

The Castle Green Condominium Management Committee has been pasting lists of resident's names on notice boards next to letter boxes and in the lifts at the blocks where they live.  The lists, put up this month, also showed the amounts they owed. Next to each list was a notice warning that legal action may be taken. The New Paper counted 36 names. The sums owed ranged from just over $1,000 to nearly $10,000. Collectively they owe nearly $70,000. All of them said they had not received any calls or messages from the MC before they were named.
The maintenance fee for each unit in the 664-unit condo along Yio Chu Kang Rd is about $700. every quarter and are collected every 3 months. 

The move has upset some residents at Castle Green - including those not on the list. They feel the MC is being overzealous. Some said the MC actions were "high-handed".
The interest for overdue fees is 10 per cent a year.

Mr Kesavan Subramaniam, 42, a businessman, said he was unaware that his name was on the list. He said he had bought the Castle Green apartment - his first condo purchase - a few months ago as an investment. He lives in an HDB flat and rents out his condo unit. As a new owner, he said he was unsure about what he was supposed to do.

Even former owners were named.. One of them, a businesswoman, said she had used her apartment to house visiting pastors for her church, but sold it in January. " I have so many condos," she said. "I'm not the one who settles the bills. My staff do it for me. " to tell you the truth, I don't even know my unit number." she insisted that she had " settled everything " before she sold the apartment.

Another of those named is a woman in her 40s, who claimed she had never lived in the condominium. It is co-owned with her ex-husband. When they divorced 10 years ago, she said they had agreed that he would continue to make all the payments for the unit. They had not sold it at that time as home prices were below what they had paid for the apartment.
"It's unfair that I am the one being blamed when he's the one who's not paying," she said. When told that her name was on the list, she said she was more upset with her ex-husband than with the condominium MC. Indeed, she didn't see anything wrong with Name-and -Shame tactics. Her ex-husband said he did not pay up because he was short of money.  " There are so many things to pay, I settle the important ones, such as Car loan and Housing loan, first.

Does the MC have the right to put up such notices ? Lawyer Bryan Tan said there is an issue only if they get the facts wrong. "if, through an administrative error, the person paid and the system didn't capture the fact and you name the person, you would be defaming him or her," he said.

The New Paper understands that the yearly expenditure for the condo is more than $1 million. It has a large swimming pool, a club house, Badminton, Squash and Tennis courts.
Some residents who were not on the list sympathised with those who had been shamed.
A retiree in his 60s, said : "What is the difference between this and the way the Loan- Sharks embarrass their debtors ? It's the same - Owe money, Pay money. Only here, they don't splash paint."  

Some felt that this was an intrusion of privacy. Another resident, in her 50s, said : " It's not nice to write about people like that. It's not fair because you do not know the situation they may be in." She felt that those in the MC should have been more civil. " Don't behave like loansharks, sit down with these people and find out why they aren't paying. let's solve the problems together, and see what can be done to get the amount down," she said.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2011, 14:04 by Austrich »

Offline Austrich

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Hillington Green condominium MC style ....
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2010, 13:44 »
Dispute over carpark lots at Hillington Green  -- Family with four cars unhappy they have only one lot....

ONE night, when returning to their  condominium home, they were stopped at the entrance by security guards. The Lirns, who live at Hillington Green in Bukit Batok, own four cars and insist on parking all of them there, though the condo rules no longer allow this. The guards told them they could not park that car there. The Lims reacted by stopping their car in front of the gates, blocking the entry and exit, around 11.30pm on March 15. They refused to move their car and the police had to be called in to resolve the issue. It was only an hour later that the Lims moved their car, after the security guards agreed to let them park it in the basement.

Recent changes in the condo rules had allowed them only one carpark lot. The new rules do allow two carpark lots for those who have more than one car, but they lose the extra lot if they sell their car and buy a new one.  The Lims bought the new car in December after the rules came into effect, so they lost their extra lot and now have only one lot. Yet, they continued to park all four cars in the condo carpark. Mrs Lim, 44, a businesswoman, said the reason they had bought their penthouse in the Bukit Batok condominium for $1.2 million in 2002 was that they could park their four cars on the premises. She claimed her family had been permitted to park three of the cars in the basement carpark, and one on the surface carpark. But the situation changed after the condo's annual general meeting (AGM) last September. Mrs Lirn is unhappy about the new rules and is worried that they might have problems selling their unit if the potential buyer has more than one car.
In addition to the $300,000 Mercedes S-Class they were driving that night, the family owns a Mercedes SLK, a Jaguar and a Ssangyong. A police spokesman said the police advised the parties involved to resolve the matter amicably.

Warning letter

Before the incident, on March 9, Mrs Lim said the management had issued her a warning letter saying that if they didn't remove the car, its wheels would be clamped on March 11. The Lirns are not the only residents affected. Another resident, a sales consultant in his 50s, said he had to park his second car at his father-in-laws condominium, which is nearby.

"We are one of those pioneers who live here, they should entitle pioneers to two cars," he said. "If at the beginning, the rule was one family one car, I wouldn't have bought the condo." Another resident, Mr Tong Wai Chong, 73, a retiree, claimed there is plenty of parking space available at the open-air car park. Mr Tong said there are more than 400 parking lots available at the property. According to the Hillington Greeri website, there are 480 apartments in the condo. The condominium's management council did not respond to The New Paper's queries. But other property management agents said that if the new rules were passed properly at the AGM, the residents have to abide by them. They also said that parking issues are not uncommon in condominiums here.

Most condos have rules for the number of  cars that each household is allowed to park on the premises. Bigger units like penthouses may be entiitled to more lots since they pay more in maintenance fees and have more "share value"  that is, the share that an owner has in the common property of an estate, But bylaws could override that, if there is a shortage of parking lots. Mr Vijayen Nair, managing director of Philip Motha Property Management, said condominiums in less high-end areas may allow people to park more cars, as there may be fewer car owners among the residents. But not so in more upscale residences. He said the family could try to find if there are any households who are willing to give up their parking lots. They could then try to work out a compromise. He said the management council could also charge the Lims a monthly fee for each additional car they parked.

Mr David Tham, managing director of Dawson Property Management, said: "The question is, why must you have four cars there ? You are taking over a common area that also belongs to (others)."  He said in many newer developments, there is only enough parking space for one car per household. In the Lim's case, he said that if the bylaw has been passed properly at an AGM, the Lims have to abide by it.

Ho Lian-Yi - lianyi@Sph:com.sg

12042010Mon

Offline Austrich

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Re: O$P$ - Castle Green condo MC style ....
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2010, 13:09 »
                                   Hady Mirza banned from condo facilities .. by Zul Othman

12th Oct 2010  - It was a poolside party that had fellow residents seeing red.

MediaCorp has learnt that the management council of Mimosa Park condominium in Yio Chu Kang has banned 2006 Singapore Idol Hady Mirza (picture) and his family, who live in the development, from using its recreational facilities after a private party on Oct 2.

It is understood that the council was not pleased by what it saw in the wake of that party at the condominium's poolside clubhouse. For one thing, used paper plates and uneaten food were thrown into the pool. The toilets were also choked and damaged. Cleaners had to be called in to clean up the mess to appease residents who wanted to use the facilities. The damage was extensive and it took the cleaners six hours to complete the task.

This is not the first time Hady and his family of five - who have been living in a four-bedroom rented apartment in the condo for the last three years - have broken the rules, said chairman of the condominium's management council Leonard Lee.  The family's visitors have, on occasion, parked their cars illegally, despite repeated reminders not to do so.  As a result, the wheels of their cars have been clamped on a number of occasions, said Mr Lee.

But the mess in the pool proved to be the last straw.  Last week, the chairman sent a letter to the family informing them that their $500 tenant deposit had been forfeited because of the incident. The family's access passes have also been cancelled, which means they cannot use the shared facilities - the pool, gym and squash court. The ban is for a period of six months.

In the strongly-worded letter, Mr Lee said the episode "has caused severe inconvenience to our residents and other users" and, as a result, "additional expenses" had to be incurred to restore the premises.  He added: "We are holding you responsible for all costs ... we shall be forfeiting your tenant deposit which will be used towards the partial cost of the cleaning operations".  Mr Lee did not say how much "all costs" amounted to but added the council reserved the right to recover any other costs "that may have incurred as a result of your irresponsible behaviour".

When contacted, 30-year-old Hady declined to comment on the matter, saying "it's personal". However, MediaCorp understands that his mother, Madam Mardiana Ahmad, has sent a letter of apology to the management council.

Offline vieri

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Re: O$P$ - Castle Green condo MC style ....
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 13:28 »
According to Hady, this was a kids party. Thus, badly behaved children=dirty pool & clogged toilets.
If you happen to go to East Coast on any weekend, you'll be surprised by what was been littered/thrown into seas by these weekend BBQ goers.
Sad to say, even the foreigners (pinoys, PRCs & FT Indians) are much better behaved. Ive seen them bagged their rubbish & leave it at the nearest bins.

Vieri

Let my people go!!!!!

Offline kelso

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Re: O$P$ - Castle Green condo MC style ....
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 13:39 »
Sad to say, even the foreigners (pinoys, PRCs & FT Indians) are much better behaved. Ive seen them bagged their rubbish & leave it at the nearest bins.


its so that they'll have less to do when they come back to work on monday  ;D

Offline zermat

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Re: O$P$ - Castle Green condo MC style ....
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 18:57 »
its so that they'll have less to do when they come back to work on monday  ;D

Don't think this funny at all. In fact we should be ashamed of ourselves.  :'(

Offline Austrich

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Re: O$P$ - Castle Green condo MC style ....
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2010, 15:38 »
another Condo mismanagement problems ......Legal tussle over Jobs Credit money

IN WHAT is believed to be the first case of its kind, a legal dispute has arisen between two parties over who should pocket the money from the Jobs Credit Scheme, launched by the Government last year to keep workers employed.

Condominium manager CKH Strata Management and Bayshore Park condominium's Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) are suing each other over the money. Each claims to be the 'true employer' of 13 site staff working at the Upper East Coast condo.
At stake is $13,917 that CKH had received from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) during the economic downturn last year for retaining its workers.

At the opening hearing on Wednesday at the Subordinate Courts, Bayshore Park's MCST said it is entitled to the $13,917 from the Jobs Credit Scheme as it has been paying the salaries and Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions of the site staff. CKH is thus a facilitator and should not have kept the Jobs Credit Scheme payment. In CKH's defence, its managing director Chan Kok Hong said he decides on the workers' 13th-month bonuses and CPF contributions are made in his company's name. 'The Jobs Credit Scheme was implemented to retain employees, not to reduce the cost of hiring employees,' said Mr Chan at his cross-examination.

The dispute began when Mr Chan sued Bayshore Park for $55,742 in unpaid management fees from April to June last year, when CKH's contract with Bayshore Park expired. Bayshore Park counter-sued for $83,705 and damages. The $83,705 includes the Jobs Credit money and $48,778 for 59 fire-rated doors it said CKH had overcharged for in 2008.  In 2007, CKH had wrongly installed doors that were not built to contain smoke and fire at stairwells leading into the condo carparks. It agreed to absorb the $33,650 in costs, and charged the condo $79,237 for fire-rated doors from Good Care Building Services Contractor.  However, the MCST discovered that CKH had actually bought doors from another company with a much lower quote.  Mr Chan said the MCST had agreed on a quotation for the fire-rated doors at an annual general meeting in December 2008, before he found a lower quote at another company.
The extra cash went into settling the losses his company sustained from installing the wrong doors at the condo. CKH said it did not profit from the incident.

The Jobs Credit Scheme was introduced last year as a quarterly cash payment from Iras for every Singaporean and permanent resident on a company's CPF payroll. The grant is 12 per cent of the first $2,500 of a worker's pay each month, and was designed to help employers retain their staff in the downturn. By June 30, more than $4.3 billion had been paid to employers through the scheme.

The lawsuit is ongoing.

ongyiern@sph.com.sg-22/10/10
« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 15:40 by Austrich »

Offline Austrich

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Re: O$P$...& Condo MC management problems ....
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2010, 22:07 »
                                       Many condos, offices may miss out on new broadband
                                                      By Chua Hian Hou and Daryl Chin

Large numbers of residential and commercial buildings here - with occupants totalling hundreds of thousands - may miss out on the much-awaited Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network. This is despite the new billion- dollar network promising faster and cheaper broadband access, as well as new services not possible on the existing SingTel and StarHub broadband networks.

The hitch: Many condominium management committees and commercial building owners have refused to allow the necessary cabling, which is being done for free, to be installed.  They say that the trunking work is ugly and should be concealed inside walls. The question then is, who pays for this?  So far, nine in 10 condominium and private apartment management committees approached have rejected OpenNet's offer to install the requisite fibre-optic cabling, said an OpenNet spokesman.

OpenNet is a joint venture between SingTel, Singapore Press Holdings, SP Telecommunications and Axia NetMedia. It has been appointed by the Government to lay the new fibre-optic cabling into homes and office buildings.  OpenNet needs approval to gain access to private property. It has approached about half of Singapore's private estates, which account for about 20 per cent of Singapore's one million households.

Housing Board residents do not face such problems as the HDB has given the nod to OpenNet to install the cabling.
OpenNet's contract with the Government is to use surface trunking - white plastic boxy piping - to encase the new cables that will run along the common corridors between homes and risers. Risers are vertical shafts from which fixtures like phone wiring and TV cables 'rise' up from the ground level before going into homes.

But many condominium management corporation strata title (MCST) committees want the new cables to be concealed within walls or false ceilings.  OpenNet counters that such work requires hacking walls, a costly exercise. It is not prepared to pay for this, and it is understood that many MCSTs also do not want to bear the cost.
Some estates that have gone ahead to have the cables installed along the walls said it was no big deal.

The majority of Tampines Court residents approved the installation at an annual general meeting last year.
OpenNet has since installed the cables at the 26-year-old, 560-unit condominium, said its managing agent, Mr Wilson Ong. MCSTs appoint managing agents to manage private estates.

On the commercial front, all is not smooth either.  The Sunday Times understands that some service providers of the new network are complaining of obstacles preventing the smooth rollout of the network. One issue concerns hidden costs that emerge when building owners demand additional fees before allowing cabling to be installed.

Mr Benjamin Tan, managing director of SuperInternet, said that some building owners are charging it for items like hiring an attendant to oversee the laying out of cables, which can cost up to $500 for half a day's work. SuperInternet sells high-speed broadband access via the new network to businesses.

On another issue, StarHub, which is also selling business broadband services, said that some of the installation works by OpenNet were taking too long, despite the mandated timeframe.  OpenNet said it is working with retail service sellers like SuperInternet and StarHub for the final leg of the connection.  Its spokesman said: 'Different properties have their in-house rules, so some might require additional costs or cause delays. This will be communicated back to the service providers.'  He added that this was no different from industry practice of any connection being laid to tenants, fibre or otherwise.

The Government, which co-funds the nationwide network, is aware of the problems. An Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore spokesman said it will be contacting condominiums' MCSTs and building owners to 'encourage them to provide the necessary access to space and facilities'.  He said those who turn down the installation now would have to pay if they change their minds later.

Some industry observers counsel patience.  Said Mr Daniel Ang, chief executive of business Internet service provider LGA Telecom: 'Any business of this size and national scale will have teething problems when rolling out.'

Oct 31, 2010

Offline Austrich

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Re: O$P$...& Condo MC management problems ....
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 15:10 »
                          Riled by maintenance fee hike in Sentosa Cove

I RECEIVED a letter from Sentosa Cove Resort Management informing home owners of Sentosa Cove of an impending rise in maintenance contributions from January next year. It stated that our unit's monthly maintenance fees would be increased by 20 per cent.

The reasons stated was "to ensure the upkeep of the Cove estate is financially sustainable".

It goes further to say that last year, the operating expenses for providing security, general maintenance, repair of common areas, utility bills and other related items amounted to $6.5 million, while the maintenance collection from residents was only $985,628.

These figures seem impossible to believe. If one were to look at just three completed condominiums - The Azure (116 units), The Coast (249 units), and The Berth (200 units), the number of units total 565. Assuming each unit pays an average of $800 per month in maintenance fees, that would yield $452,000 per month in collections, or $5.42 million per year. If we were to include the fees paid by the landed property owners, the figure should be more than sufficient to cover the claimed operating costs. It is almost unthinkable that the Sentosa Cove management fund can be running at such a huge loss.

I think the management needs to address operating and financial issues with sensitivity and transparency quickly. Dropping letters in home owners' post boxes is unprofessional.
As home owners, we need to know what the money is being spent on and how the figures are arrived at.  Interestingly, there are another 264 units at The Oceanfront which has just received its temporary occupancy permit, and another 900 units that are uncompleted. It does appear a sizeable amount of funds are forthcoming.

Dr Yuen Siu Mun

STForumNov 13, 2010

Offline Austrich

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Re: O$P$...& Condo MC management problems ....
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 15:13 »
                 Sentosa Cove addresses issue over maintenance fee

WE APPRECIATE Dr Yuen Siu Mun's feedback last Saturday ("Riled by maintenance fee hike in Sentosa Cove") and would like to highlight that he had, however, misunderstood certain aspects of the maintenance fee contributions and interpreted the intent wrongly. We have since contacted him to address his concerns.

We would like to assure our residents that Sentosa Cove Resort Management is fully committed to keeping an open channel of communication with all our stakeholders. Besides communicating with residents via circulars, we also engage them via other channels like e-mail, regular town hall and feedback sessions, community activities and the quarterly news magazine.

Jason Yeo
General Manager

Sentosa Cove Resort Management

Nov 16, 2010

Offline meatballz

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Re: O$P$...& Condo MC management problems ....
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 19:03 »
stay in hdb flats lah..... ho low fees, small potatoes to them.
 ;D
腾腾转菊花囤,炒米饼罗米囤, 啊妈叫我睇龙船,我唔睇睇鸡仔, 鸡仔大,拿去买,买到几多钱.奸人堅

Offline Austrich

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Ultra - High speed broadband network cables ...
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2010, 18:46 »
Condo owners can't use sinking fund for concealed cabling

 MR FRANCIS Zhan, chief executive of the Association of Management Corporations Singapore, was reported to have stated that a condominium's management corporation could use its sinking fund for works to conceal OpenNet's cables within the home units if a resolution to this effect is passed and obtained 75 per cent approval ('Residents may have to pay to conceal cables'; Nov 23).

The comment may give the impression that owners or subsidiary proprietors of a development may request the management corporation to undertake such works.  That is not so.

Condominium residents who want the cables for ultra- high speed broadband network concealed for aesthetic reasons within their strata units will have to pay for the work themselves.

The sinking funds may be used only for works on the common property. A management corporation is not empowered to table a resolution at a duly convened general meeting that calls for the use of sinking funds for works undertaken in the premises of condominium residents.

This provision is encapsulated in the current legislation regulating the maintenance and management of strata-titled properties - the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act.

Evelyn Chang (Ms)
Executive Director
Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers

STForum-Dec 2, 2010

Offline Austrich

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Condominium MC management problems ....O$P$
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2010, 10:16 »
                 Family of drowned expat drops suit
Relatives of German who died in condo spa pool end High Court case against three parties



Mr Arndt Starke was stuck to a hole leading to a suction drain in the spa pool (above) at Goldenhill Park condominium. The plastic grates covering it were broken, contributing to a force equivalent to that exerted by 16 people. -- ST FILE PHOTO

A CHAPTER has closed on the case of a German expatriate who drowned after he was sucked to the bottom of a condominium spa pool exactly four years ago.  The family of finance director Arndt Starke has ended their lawsuit in the High Court against three parties they held responsible for his death.

Last year, they sued the management corporation of the Goldenhill Park condominium in Mei Hwan Drive, its managing agent Knight Frank Estate Management and Aquatech Products & Services, which was hired to maintain the spa pool.  The discontinuation is believed to follow a settlement made on confidential terms in recent months. All three parties could not be reached yesterday.   One of Mr Starke's two brothers told The Straits Times from Germany that the family took the case to court to raise awareness.

Dr Henning Starke, a lawyer, said: 'Emotionally, it wasn't a pretty exercise. But I am extremely happy we did it... we tried to add something to the process of changing things in the future.'

Mr Starke was in the 0.9m-deep condominium spa pool with his fiancee when he drowned on Dec 1, 2006. The 34-year-old fiancee went to restart the system when the spa jets weakened. She returned and saw Mr Starke, who was 2m tall and weighed 88kg, sprawled at the bottom of the pool.  He was stuck to the hole of a suction drain. The plastic grates covering it were broken, contributing to a force equivalent to that exerted by 16 people.

A Coroner's Court hearing found no evidence of criminal negligence. But the Starkes remained unconvinced, and sued the parties in court.  The freak incident raised questions on the safety of spa pools. In May this year, a national standard to make aquatic facilities safer and cleaner for use was launched.

Dr Henning Starke, 45, said the family is not in contact with his brother's fiancee, who was so traumatised she underwent psychiatric treatment in Germany after the death.
It is not easy for the family members either, but they try to focus on fond memories of Mr Starke instead of his tragic end. He is also survived by another brother, Dr Jochen Starke, 40, and his mother, Madam Ursula Starke, 73.

Said Dr Henning Starke: 'We even make jokes about what he would have done or said in a certain circumstance. So he is definitely present. But of course, on a day like the (death) anniversary, he is more absent than present.'

1st Dec 2010
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 10:20 by Austrich »

Offline Austrich

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Re: Condominium MC management problems ....O$P$
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2010, 18:41 »
At Nassim Park condominium

 KOK KEONG LANDSCAPE  - Fined $55k for bribery - ..

THE boss of a landscape company was fined $55,000 by a district court on Thursday for bribing a landscape resident technical officer to go easy on her inspections and to get him more work.

Tan Kok Keong, 39, managing director of Kok Keong Landscape (KKL), pleaded guilty to giving $1,500 to Ms Victorine Noella Wijeysingha in November 2008. He also admitted to promising her $30,000 in March 2009, for her to recommend his company for work at the Nassim Park condominium. Two other charges of giving her $1,000 in January and $1,500 in March 2009 were taken into consideration for sentencing.

The court heard that at that time KKL was the landscape subcontractor of the Orchard Road mall enhancement works project initiated by the Singapore Tourism Board. Ms Wijeysingha - the sole proprietor of Vicki Artlett Designs - was appointed resident technical officer by one of the contractors, Arborculture.  Her duties included ensuring that the work carried out by KKL were in compliance with the project's specifications.

According to court documents, she allegedly asked Tan in October 2008 to 'cover her' for helping him. Realising it was a request for a bribe, he started paying her off from the following month.
The next year in 2009, she offered to recommend his firm for future work but for a fee. By then, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau were onto them. Ms Wijeysingha has not been dealt with yet.

STDec 9, 2010

Offline Austrich

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Re: Condominium MC management problems ....O$P$
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2010, 13:20 »
The Citrine - Condominium in Jalan Datoh, Balestier -
Chinese national Zhou Zhi Hui, 26 survives 12th-storey fall ....

8 Women from China were living in the unit, she work as KTV hostess...


A WOMAN miraculously survived a fall from the 12th storey of a condominium yesterday morning. She landed in the swimming pool. Chinese national Zhou Zhi Hui, 26, told The Straits Times that she was trying to escape from her apartment after an argument with her landlord.

Last night, police said she had been arrested for attempted suicide and is out on police bail.
This was because she had threatened to jump during the dispute. Under the law, suicide is a crime. What is clear is that at about 11.20am, she lost her grip while at the balcony of her flat at The Citrine, a condominium in Jalan Datoh in the Balestier area. She plunged about 40m and landed in the swimming pool located on the second floor of the development. She was found floating and wearing only a pink negligee and clutching a handbag.

'As I was falling, all I could think about was how I would never see my parents again,' she told The Straits Times last night from her hospital bed in the high dependency ward at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. She said her chest hurt and she could not move her upper body. She was working as a KTV hostess here and had arrived in Singapore last month from Shandong. She had been planning to stay for half a year. Ms Zhou said that her landlord had barred her from leaving the flat during an argument over her visa and rent.  There were seven to eight women from China living in the unit when she arrived but they had moved out one by one. She said she wanted to leave too.

'I just wanted to get out of the house by climbing down to the unit below. I never thought of killing myself,' she said in Mandarin, in between sobs as she recalled the traumatic incident.
She said she had stuffed all her belongings into a brown handbag, including money and her make-up, and waited for her landlord to be distracted before climbing out of the balcony.

When she realised there was no way down, she panicked and called for help. He came to the balcony and tried to help pull her up, but he lost his grip on her and she plunged into the 20m-long lap pool, which has depths of between 0.5m and 1.35m.

'I didn't even know there was water below. If it wasn't for the swimming pool, I would have fallen to my death,' she said.

Bell-hop M. Fandi Abu Seman, 23, who works at a budget hotel opposite the condominium, said he saw the struggle on the balcony. 'One person was holding the other by the arms but couldn't hold on and let go,' he said. Horrified, he asked the hotel's front desk to call for an ambulance while he ran across the road to help. He was joined by three other men from a nearby coffee shop who had been alerted by Ms Zhou's sharp scream and the loud sound as she hit the water.

By the time they reached the pool on the second level of the 20-storey building, Ms Zhou had already been helped out by one of the estate cleaners and was lying on the ground by the side of the pool. She had also been given a towel to wrap around herself.  Coffee shop assistant Branden Chia, 18, said in Mandarin: 'She had bruises on her left leg and her right elbow area.'
Another coffee shop assistant, who declined to be named, said she emerged from the water clutching her handbag which was stuffed with cash.  'All the money was completely wet. She even asked me to get her watch which was in the pool,' the 63-year-old said in Mandarin.

Officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force arrived shortly after. Ms Zhou, who complained of pain in her lower back and legs, was taken to hospital.

'I'm really scared that I may not be able to walk properly again,' she said last night.

She added that she was anxious to get her mobile phone back, which she claimed her landlord had confiscated, so that she could call her friends and ask them to visit and help her.

By Kimberly Spykerman & Chong Zi Liang

Dec 11, 2010
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 13:22 by Austrich »