Wednesday, January 7, 2009

En-bloc row official on mischief rap

He is accused of stuffing glue into padlocks and keyholes of residents

THE former chairman of the Laguna Park management committee was charged yesterday with mischief over incidents during the housing estate’s acrimonious drive to secure a collective sale.
Lee Kok Leong, a 62-year-old businessman, allegedly put glue into the padlock and keyholes in the front and rear entrances of the flats belonging to two residents last August.

At the time he headed the estate’s management committee and is understood to have been in the camp pushing for the collective sale of the sprawling 530-unit estate along Marine Parade Road.
His alleged acts of mischief cost one resident $410 to fix, and the other, $180.

Yesterday, Lee, wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and black jeans and clutching a small brown bag, listened attentively as the charges were read to him.

His lawyer, Mr Ramesh Tiwary, said he had just taken on the case and asked the court for time to make his representations.

If convicted, Lee could be jailed up to a year or fined, or both jailed and fined on each charge.
In the courtroom’s public gallery yesterday were two of the estate’s many residents who had filed police reports that their cars, mailboxes or doors had been vandalised.

The two men said they were among the residents affected by the dispute within the estate over the collective sale.

The Straits Times reported last July that at least eight cars, including a Lexus and Toyota, had been vandalised. They were all splashed with corrosive liquid or paint or had been scratched.
Mailboxes had glue jammed into their keyholes to make it impossible for residents to collect their letters.

The war that has split residents of the 30-year-old estate into two camps is not yet over.

Last month, the estate managed to surpass the 80-per-cent threshold for the sale to go through, so it now remains for an interested developer to step forward.

The asking price of $1.2 billion will mean payouts of $1.8 million to $2.3 million per unit, sharply lower than sums in excess of $3 million some owners had hoped for in 2007.

Lee’s next court date is on Feb 3.

Source : Straits Times - 7 Jan 2009

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