Boon Lay resident shocked and saddened to find shelves stolen less than a day after opening library at HDB void deck

Isabelle Liew
The Straits Times
April 25, 2023

A man who spent months collecting books and shelves to set up an open library in his Housing Board void deck in Boon Lay had a nasty shock when two bookshelves were stolen less than a day later.

The chairman of the residents’ network for Boon Lay View, who wanted to be known only as Hengster Kor, said he spent three hours on Monday shifting and arranging the books and shelves in the void deck.

“I completed the work at around 8pm. When I went down this morning to check out the area, I was shocked and saddened to see that two of the shelves had been stolen,” Mr Kor, 42, told The Straits Times on Tuesday.

“So much effort has gone into setting this up, and many of us are very excited that the project is finally happening.”

The financial services consultant said he came up with the idea for the open library when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, but it was delayed because he did not have enough books at the time.

People are allowed to borrow books from open libraries as well as donate their own.

He eventually started the project in March when he collected enough books and shelves from neighbours and friends. He also received the approval of the town council to set up the open library.

“On Monday, I sorted out the books according to genre and sizes, and arranged them on the shelves in a presentable manner,” he said, adding that he was planning to continue moving the rest of the books from another block on Tuesday.

Mr Kor said he was heartened that some people have offered to donate shelves to him after his posted about the theft on Facebook.

“I just wanted to give these books and shelves an extended lifespan,” he added.

“Such incidents can make people think twice about volunteering and contributing... We are not paid to do this. We are just people who want to make the world better.”

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.