Is business rivalry behind car vandalism?
Is business rivalry the reason for a vandalism attack on a car workshop in Redhill?
The people who work there think so. They believe that in an industry saturated with small players, someone may not be happy with the success of Optima Werkz.
In two years, the company has established three workshops servicing Japanese cars, sports marques like Porsches and luxury cars such as Bentleys.
The official opening of its third workshop at Upper Thomson Road was last Wednesday, and four days before that, vandals struck at the firm's Kung Chong Road branch in Redhill.
Optima Werkz's other workshop is at Serangoon North.
Workshop representatives showed The New Paper security-camera footage of a lone vandal, with his head covered, scaling a 2m fence on Dec 13 while carrying a pail full of paint remover which can damage human skin.
The vandal splashed the paint remover on seven cars parked near the fence within the workshop complex. The footage showed that the vandal struck at 1.30am.
Mr Jeremy Lee, one of the five directors of Optima Werkz, said: "Business has grown in Optima Werkz, thus this could have attracted the attention of competitors who might not be happy that we are doing well."
The same workshop was also targeted by vandals in June. Then, paint was thrown into the compound from the outside the premises, but no cars were damaged.
Directors of Optima Werkz made a police report, but no arrest has been made yet.
Mr Lee said: "After the first attack, we enhanced surveillance to deter further attacks. Before the incident, the original (security) set-up only monitored the workshop area. We subsequently upgraded it to monitor the outside of the workshop."
There are about 50 security cameras around the Redhill workshop.
In the Dec 13 attack, the cars affected - a Ferrari, a Volvo, two Audis and three Mercedes - sustained an estimated $30,000 to $50,500 in damage.
Mr Lee said repairs will take about two weeks. He added: "Paint remover can corrode paint, plastic and other materials. While it doesn't corrode metal, it can corrode the coating of the metal, basically staining it."
Optima Werkz is likely to foot the bill for repairs.
Another director, who declined to be named, said: "Our customers are the innocent parties in this incident. They parked their cars in our compound, so it's our responsibility to look after their interests and we cannot expect them to pay for such things."
Mr Ma H.W., the owner of the Volvo which was damaged, said the workshop called him on Saturday morning after they discovered the incident.
He said: "I was upset because my car was damaged, but I was not particularly worried as I know that Optima Werkz's staff are responsible people. Also, they told me that they'll be picking up the bill for the repairs."
Mr Lee said: "The police have been very supportive during the investigation. They are also actively engaging us by reviewing possible evidence from additional sources."