Diner claims rat found in soup, stall claims sabotage
Diners claim they found a rat in their mutton soup at a Jalan Besar coffee shop
Most people would be delighted to have an extra side dish on the house.
Unless that side dish was a rat.
That was what a group of diners claimed they got when they ordered mutton soup.
Mr Jeremy Quek, 38, was having a meal with seven others after work at about 9pm on Monday.
They ordered eight bowls of mutton soup from Kong Kee Mutton Soup, a coffee shop stall at 209, Jalan Besar.
Halfway through their meal, one of them allegedly fished out a dead rat from the bowl.
Mr Quek, who runs a car workshop, said: "My friend next to me said there was some black meat with a tail that he didn't know how to eat, so he picked it out and passed it to the friend sitting across from him.
"My other friend said it was a rat and used his chopsticks to pick it up and put it on the table. It was very small, maybe a few centimetres long."
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They then stood up and walked to the side of the road, where one of them started throwing up.
The group alerted the stall owner, who walked over to their table and saw the rat.
"She came over and said, 'Sorry, sorry,' then refunded us," said Mr Quek.
He and his friends left without finishing their meal, but not before he snapped pictures of the table being cleared.
Mr Quek uploaded the photos on Facebook a few hours later. The post went viral and caused a stir online.
When The New Paper went to the stall yesterday, workers there said they believed it was an attempt to sabotage their business.
The stall owner, who declined to be named, said she saw the rat on the table, but did not think it came from the soup.
"I don't know where the rat came from because we always clean the area," said the woman, who looked to be in her 40s.
"We clean the place three times a day - in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening."
The stall owner said she saw the rat on the table, but did not think it came from the soup.
The stall owner then demonstrated how the soup is made, with the ingredients being prepared in a bowl separately before soup is poured in.
Mr Raymond Tan, 53, the owner of the coffee shop, said he was not present during the incident, but also believed that the rat could have been planted.
"I think it is most likely someone trying to sabotage us," he said.
"How could there have been a rat in the soup? The bowl is so small, if there was one, we would've seen it."
Three officers from the National Environment Agency (NEA) were seen taking photos of the stall and the area yesterday afternoon.
An NEA spokesman said it was aware of the incident and is investigating.
"We will take the necessary enforcement actions against any parties found responsible for rat infestation, or creating conditions favourable for harbourage or proliferation of rats," the spokesman said.
Mr Tan said he would also be going to the NEA office to give his statement.
"I've been in the business for a long time. My father ran a coffee shop in the 50s. I have never had such a thing happen before," he said.
When told of Mr Tan's allegations of sabotage, Mr Quek said he would not do such a thing.
"If we wanted to sabotage the business, we wouldn't have ordered eight bowls. We would order one or two and it would be enough," he said.
"This is my second time eating there and I'm not usually in the area."
Mr Quek said he has not made a formal complaint to the NEA, but intended to do so today.
"I think something must be done," he said.
"If anything happens to us, we will also go (to the stall) and find them."
According to the NEA website, food retail establishments found to have hygiene lapses can be fined up to $2,000 and demerit points will be issued.
If they accumulate 12 or more demerit points within a year, the operating licence can be suspended or revoked.
Criminal lawyer James Ow Yong from Kalco Law said that anyone who makes a false claim can be sued for damages for defamation or be exposed to liability in criminal defamation.
Making a false report to the NEA can also constitute a criminal offence.
- Additional reporting by Phyllis Lee
How could there have been a rat in the soup? The bowl is so small, if there was one, we would've seen it.
- Mr Raymond Tan, owner of the coffee shop