Pouring acid. Check. Vandalise cars. Check. Glue mailboxes. Check. Glue doors to frames. Check. Pig heads, however, are getting a little too expensive, and red paint leaves behind an unpleasant smell for the neighbours. No, you are not hearing what loan sharks are doing to their debtors. This is what is being carried apparently to coerce residents of a potential en bloc application into signing the form.

In order for an en bloc to be successful, 80% of the residents are required to agree to the sale. In Laguna Park, only about 65% have reached this consensus. The rest are either against it or sitting on the fence.

Apparently, to coerce those who are vehemently against it, some lessons must be taught to them. The short list above is probably just the tip of the iceberg. We have not talked about smashed windows, dog droppings being left outside or even helping them to repaint their windows. Yes, paint on the window glass (so that you won’t need a curtain anymore).

When it comes to greed, the monster in us comes out in hordes. It’s unimaginable how each of us are already "loan shark-trained" without even working for one. It got so bad at Laguna Park that residents wonder when someone will just pour acid on their faces. Not enough? Then perhaps burning down the flat should do the trick; since it also helps increase the agreement rate by getting rid of 1 resident.

For those who are sitting on the fence, this is just a prelude of what could happen to them should they disagree to sell.

Eventually, even if the en bloc doesn’t pull through, everything will be different. The environment will become hostile because the sellers may start bearing grudges against the non-sellers, while the non-sellers will start living in fear. It may become so bad that everyone might just want to sell their place and move out. However, by then, the en bloc will no longer be applicable.

And the person behind it? Well, no one has been charged yet, but the chairman of the management committee at Laguna Park was arrested this week on suspicion of gluing shut 2 residents’ apartment doors, although no charges were brought against him, who has been released on police bail. The authorities are also looking into new moves against loan sharks. I wonder if any of the new measures will help in napping those behind these loan-shark-alike activities.

THE chairman of the management committee at Laguna Park, recently hit by a spate of vandalism, was arrested this week on suspicion of gluing shut two residents’ apartment doors.

No charges were brought against Mr Lee Kok Leong, 61, who has since been released on police bail.

He could not be contacted yesterday despite several attempts to do so.

A resident who declined to be named said he was surprised by the news of the arrest as Mr Lee was well respected in the 530-unit East Coast condominium, whose residents are now split over a collective sale.

The resident said of Mr Lee: ‘Although he supported the en-bloc sale, he had claimed he was a victim – he said his mailbox was glued shut.’

The rift over the collective sale has turned ugly in recent months after several instances of vandalism against those opposed to the sale.

In the latest incident on Monday, two residents found their apartment doors stuck to the frames by glue.

Both live in Block E, and are against the sale.

In recent months, cars belonging to residents not keen on the sale were splashed with a corrosive liquid or paint, or scratched; mailboxes have also been found with glue in their keyholes.

Some residents were hit more than once.

One resident who found glue on the door to her apartment this week said she was worried that the culprits have accomplices, and did not feel safe.

To address the fears of residents like her, an extraordinary general meeting will be called in October.

Contacted yesterday, a spokesman for the management committee told The Straits Times that the purpose of the meeting was to find out where the residents stood on having closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed.

‘The big question is whether they would be willing to pay. Everyone wants security, but who is going to pay for it in the end?

‘If they want a CCTV camera outside every unit, it would be very costly,’ he said.

The move was in response to the vandalism in the estate, he added.

The possibility of a collective sale of the units in this seaside estate arose last December.

Residents have until the end of this year to secure an 80 per cent vote to put it up for sale.

So far, 65 per cent have indicated their agreement to it.

Residents have been told by a property valuer that an average unit could be worth more than $2.1 million in a collective sale, and the penthouses, almost $4m.


Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapore/Story/STIStory_272671.html

Article extracted on 28th August 2008

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