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After receiving no less than five reports about a monkey terrorising residents at Segar Road in Bukit Panjang, the Stomp Team made a trip down to the area to speak to residents about what was going on.
Among them was Stomper Zenn, a resident of Block 468, who was the third victim of a monkey attack yesterday (Apr 18). An earlier incident saw a resident staying at Block 471 sustaining bruises and a huge gash after she was bitten by a monkey. An elderly man was also sent to hospital after he was left bleeding following a monkey attack at the void deck of Block 472.
We first headed to Block 468 to speak to Stomper Zenn. As we were waiting for the lift to go up the block, we spoke to two residents, Mr Low and Mr Madhavan, who were staying on the 14th and 11th storey respectively.
Mr Low, who has been staying at Segar Road for 16 years, believes that the monkey came to the HDB estate from a nearby park. He said that the monkey went into his home from a kitchen window on Sunday (Apr 16) at around 7pm, and started walking around his flat.
Said Mr Low:
"I believe the monkey is hiding on the rooftop (of the HDB block). It will climb down from the 15th storey, the highest level of the block. After that, it will jump onto a tree and make its way down.
Mr Madhavan reported seeing residents feeding the monkey, suggesting that it might have gotten used to human contact.
We then paid a visit to Stomper Zenn who stays on the 13th storey after speaking to the two residents.
She told us that she was attacked by a monkey last night at around 7pm as she was sitting at her table in the living room.
The animal came in from a window behind her and frantically grabbed her arm. She was left with bruises and red marks on her right arm after the attack. The monkey left subsequently through a window in her kitchen.
Zenn went to see a doctor at a nearby clinic, who then referred her to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. She was given antibiotics, painkillers and some antiseptic cream.
During our chat with her, the Stomper expressed concern for children living in the Segar Road area as she feels the monkey is quite strong.
After we left Zenn's home, we spoke to another resident, Ms Rina, who stays on the first floor of Block 472. She told Stomp that a monkey once climbed into her home through the kitchen window and took bites on three of her mangoes.
The residents we spoke to join a long list of Stompers who have shared their experiences with us about the infamous Sejar Road monkey.
Yesterday (Apr 17) Stomper Ruth told Stomp that her sister was left with a huge gash and a bruise after getting attacked by the monkey that had climbed into her flat on the 7th storey of Block 471.
Following the incident, the Stomper's sister was also told by a neighbour that an elderly man, Mr Tan, was attacked at the void deck of Block 472 on the same day. A photo sent by Ruth shows blood in front of a metal bench believed to be from the wounds of Mr Tan. According to SCDF, he was then conveyed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
On Apr 11, Stomper Emmanuel reported that a monkey had been wreaking havoc at his home's balcony on the second storey of Block 467 for three months.
Photos and a video he sent show a monkey in his flat with broken flower pots and a fallen bicycle around it.
On Mar 23, Stomper Dave saw a monkey at a playground near Block 471, where Ruth's sister is staying at.
In a video that he filmed, the animal can be seen walking across a grass patch before chasing after a woman, causing the latter to flee hurriedly.
MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Liang Eng Hwa has issued a response about the monkey-related incidents. He said on Facebook:
"Like everyone at Segar, I am very concerned about the lone monkey harassing and hurting our residents. I visited Mr Tan who is currently receiving treatment at the hospital after being bitten by the monkey this morning.
"Last Oct, I received several feedback about 2 monkeys entering the homes at Segar. We called on the AVA and Town Council to act; and soon after in November last year one of the monkey was caught. Unfortunately, the other smaller one remained elusive till today and continues to wander at the estate.
"Following reports of this remaining monkey becoming more aggressive in behaviour in the last few weeks, I have asked AVA's Management to take even stronger measures to catch the monkey. AVA has agreed to step up action. Town Council have also stepped up surveillance on the monkey sightings and working with AVA to catch the monkey. Meanwhile, I would advise residents not to feed and provoke the monkey. We will remove this remaining monkey from the estate soonest possible.
"Thanks very much to all concerned residents who have sent me updates and photos. Please continue to do so."
The AVA has also issued a statement in response to a Stomp query with regard to the recent spate of monkey attacks. Said a spokesperson:
"AVA’s priority in managing the wild animal population is to ensure public health and safety is not compromised. For animals that do not pose significant public health or safety concerns, we will advise feedback providers on ways to mitigate the issues. This may include plugging up access points for wildlife or removing sources of food within properties.
"For animals that pose significant public health or safety concerns, such as when animals enter premises and destroy property, injure residents or are potential carriers of disease, AVA will work with the relevant stakeholders to explore removal or relocation options where possible.
"Monkeys may carry zoonotic diseases that are harmful to public health. Aggressive monkeys are also a risk to public safety. In response to public feedback, AVA will carry out surveillance operations in the area, and if necessary, control operations will be conducted.
"Since October 2016, AVA has received about 160 feedback in the Segar area on monkey attacks and nuisance. AVA is aware of the incident in which an elderly man was attacked by a monkey this morning, and is investigating.
"We have conducted surveillance in the area and assessed that the monkeys are a public safety risk. As such, AVA has been conducting monkey control operations in the area. Catching the monkeys can be challenging as they are very nimble. The many high-rise buildings in the area also make it easy for the monkeys to be out of reach by climbing up the blocks. One monkey has been removed in November 2016.
"In addition, AVA has worked with the Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council to prune trees and harvest fruits from trees in the estate to mitigate the situation. Currently, we are working with ACRES to remove the monkey in the area.
"What public can do when they encounter monkeys
"The public can make their premises less attractive to monkeys by keeping food items out of sight and practising good refuse management, such as the double knotting of garbage bags and disposing of garbage in bins with secured lids.
"If monkeys approach:
• Stop whatever you are doing immediately.
• Remain calm and quiet. Do not make sudden movements and do not maintain direct eye contact with the monkeys.
• Look away and back off slowly. Do not turn away from the monkeys and run.
• If you are holding an object which is attracting the monkeys, conceal or discard it.
• Do not try to hit the monkeys.
• If you have a child with you, put him/her on your shoulders. This will increase your perceived size, which could deter the monkeys from approaching you and your child.
• Keep away from the area until the monkeys have left.
"The public is also advised against feeding monkeys as this alters their natural behaviour and causes them to become reliant on humans for food. As monkeys are attracted to food hand-outs from people, they may grab at plastic bags, or any other food containers that the monkeys have been conditioned to recognise."
Take a look at Stomper Zenn describing how she was attacked by the monkey at her house in the video below: