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Sherlyn Sim and Yong Li Xuan
The Straits Times
August 30, 2023
The Tampines Town Council is looking for a man who illegally chopped down a tree at a Housing Board estate in Tampines Street 62.
The town council had put up notices at GreenDew estate, a new Build-To-Order (BTO) project in Tampines, on Aug 24, urging those with information on the culprit to come forward.
The notices carry a picture of a man taking what looks like a chopper to young saplings at the estate.
The town council told The Straits Times that one tree has been chopped down, while two others have been damaged, although it was not able to confirm if the same culprit was responsible.
A town council spokesman told The Straits Times that it was informed on Aug 23 that a resident was “seen chopping a tree” near Block 648C Tampines Street 62.
The Straits Times visited the site and saw two crudely hacked trees in front of the lift lobby of Block 648C. One felled tree was lying on a side.
“We are working with HDB to investigate the matter and have posted notices in the vicinity, seeking residents’ assistance in identifying the responsible party,” said the town council spokesman.
He added that the town council was taking the incident seriously and warned that damaging or removing plants, shrubs or trees in common areas is a violation of town council by-laws.
“We have reported the incident to the police, and appropriate action will be taken against the offender,” he said.
Two damaged trees at the GreenDew estate. PHOTO: CELINE CHEN
The town council said the saplings involved were Brassia Actinophylla trees, also known as umbrella trees, which are recognisable by their bright red flowers.
Nurseries and landscaping services contacted by ST said that a Brassia Actinophylla sapling of about 2.2m in height costs about $900.
Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng told ST he received complaints from a resident on two occasions that someone was chopping down plants and saplings in the neighbourhood. He added that this was the first time something like this has happened since he became an MP in 2006.
“I verified from the residents’ Telegram chat group that this person appeared to be living in the area,” he said.
“I asked the town council to put up notices to remind residents that such actions are illegal and to ask for information about this person. I understand that the notices were removed by unknown persons,” he said.
“Such landscaping serves to beautify the estate and enhance greenery. The public should not remove or damage the plants.”
Those found to have chopped down trees can be fined, added Mr Baey.
It is an offence under Tampines Town Council’s by-laws to damage, cut or remove plants, shrubs or trees in common areas. Those found guilty of breaching a town council’s by-laws can be fined up to $5,000.