Managements, police warn of 'condo-crashing'
Writer boasts of 'crashing' condominiums in online article
Condominiums boast luxurious facilities meant for their residents and their guests. Some even have large swimming pools and washrooms rivalling that of five-star hotels.
But a new trend is worrying the managements of some condominiums here.
"Condo-crashing", which entails members of the public entering the private premises to use the facilities, has led to some condominium managements taking extra security measures.
The police said there were more cases of wilful trespass in the last few years.
Earlier this month, writer Robin Hicks of Coconuts Singapore wrote an article claiming that he "condo-crashed" 11 condominiums here in the past year.
Naming 10 of them, he described how to enter the premises without alerting security while also suggesting what to say if one is caught.
He wrote that if those living there do not make use of their "plush amenities", then those who cannot afford to stay there "might as well share the wealth".
The managements of two condominiums on Mr Hick's list told The New Paper that they take his claims of trespassing seriously.
A spokesman for the management of Caribbean at Keppel Bay said it is investigating, and that the offence will be "severely dealt with".
"The safety and security of our residents and the estate is of top priority for our management. We will work with the condominium's security agency to reinforce our security measures and investigate the matter," said the spokesman.
Mr Eric Lim, who manages The Merasaga in Holland Village, said new security measures have been implemented since July last year, following several incidents of non-residents found using the condominium facilities.
He said: "We have since repositioned the barrier so that there is no gap where people can walk in, and we have implemented EZ-Link card access so that these cards cannot be duplicated."
Mr Hicks could not be contacted for comment, but criminal lawyer James Ow Yong said "condo-crashing" can be a crime.
"Being on another's property without permission or excuse can be a crime," Mr Ow Yong said.
He added that a "condo-crasher" can be charged with either wilful trespass or criminal trespass, depending on the intent of trespassing.
"If it can be shown that one was there with intent to commit an offence, including theft or vandalism, the offender can be charged with criminal trespass," he said.
"Condo-crashing is easily shown to be intentional, especially if one brags about it."
The number of cases of wilful trespass has been steadily increasing in recent years.
A police spokesman said there were 189 such cases in 2014, 227 in 2015 and 279 last year.
He said: "The police would like to remind the public that wilful trespass on any ground without satisfactory excuse is an offence under Section 21 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act. This offence carries a fine of up to $1,000 on conviction."
Mr Lim said The Merasaga has attempted to mitigate the problem by upgrading security measures and stepping up checks, but he admitted that even then, they are unable to entirely prevent it from happening.
"This is a problem that all condominiums face in Singapore," he said.
"The shortage of guards due to low pay cannot be solved unilaterally. Unless there is a significant change in the security industry, we doubt that this problem can be eliminated."