By the numbers
16 cars, 2 pile-ups
Five injured, massive jam on PIE in early morning collision
Two accidents 100 metres apart led to a massive jam on the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) yesterday morning.
Each crash involved eight cars and a total of five casualties were taken to hospital.
The pileups occurred at 7.05am near the Jurong West Avenue 2 exit, in the direction of Tuas.
Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported that the accidents caused a traffic jam from the Jurong West Avenue 2 exit to Clementi Avenue 6.
One of those involved in the accidents was Mr Pan Qing Xiang, 64.
The mathematics professor was driving his son, who is doing a double degree in engineering and economics, to Nanyang Technological University for an orientation camp, reported Wanbao.
His wife was sitting in front while his son, 21, was napping in the backseat.
The force of the crash damaged Mr Pan's car and activated its safety air bag. Mr Pan, who was strapped to his seat, found it difficult to breathe.
His left ring finger was bleeding and his right wrist was swollen, Wanbao reported.
His wife felt pain in her rib cage and was worried that she had suffered a fracture. Their son was unhurt.
The New Paper understands that a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officer was also involved in one of the two accidents. He was alone and on the way to another incident in an SCDF car.
An SCDF spokesman said they sent two ambulances to the scene. Five casualties were taken to the National University Hospital. One man in his 50s refused to be taken to the hospital, the spokesman added.
Police investigations are ongoing.
- Additional reporting by Kerri Heng
Man slashes woman's throat, faces murder charge
New Bill to target organised crime bosses
New Bill will target organised crime bosses, even those working outside Singapore
Singapore's law enforcement agencies are setting their sights on the big fish in the world of organised crime.
These crooks were previously hard to target because they keep their hands clean while their underlings do the dirty work. And some organised crime bosses may be based overseas.
A new Bill introduced in Parliament yesterday will make it easier to target them by criminalising all activities related to organised criminal groups (OCGs).
Even recruiting a person, instructing someone to commit an offence or just being part of an OGC will make a person liable under the Bill.
The Bill will also have extra-territorial coverage to target criminal masterminds working outside of Singapore to cause harm here.
The police and other law agencies can also get Preventive Orders to curb their criminal activities. For instance, one must now be convicted of certain offences before his assets such as property can be seized.
Under the new Preventive Orders, even if there's no conviction, a person suspected of being involved in an OCG can be prevented from acting as a company director, required to submit details of his finances and have his activities restricted.
And to ensure that ill-gotten gains from organised crime will be controlled, law enforcers can confiscate the assets or benefits without the need of a conviction, as long as a hearing in the High Court can prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the person has carried out organised crime activities.
The Bill will also introduce enhanced investigative powers for the police and law enforcement agencies to get information on how much tax a person pays or what his company pays in Goods and Services Tax.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said it had studied the laws and practices of other countries to develop the Bill.
For instance, the police in Perth, Australia, smashed an international drug syndicate after seizing 12kg of Meth with a street value estimated at A$12 million (S$12m). They also seized more than A$400,000 in cash and casino chips.
Two of the four men arrested were from Hong Kong. The others were a Canadian and an Australian, showing how transnational an organised crime group can be.
In New Zealand, the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act states that not only would the criminals be locked up but they would also have to hand over any profits from their crimes.
Since the tough new law took effect on Dec 1, 2009, the police have seized millions of dollars in assets - including properties and money in bank accounts - from criminals.
"The police will continue to do their utmost to counter security threats to secure Singapore and protect Singaporeans from those who wish to carry out acts of violence and destruction."
- Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean
Enhanced safety of outdoor programmes
BTO flat quality has improved
The quality of homes has not been compromised despite the fast-rising numbers of Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in the last four years, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee told Parliament.
He said that on average, about one in three new residents approach the Building Service Centre for help on defects after collecting their keys.
However, the vast majority of defects reported are superficial such as hairline cracks on walls, scratches on timber floor or uneven tile joints.
About 25 per cent of the requests are related to issues such as low water pressure and paint stains.
Responding to questions filed by four Members of Parliament on defects in BTO flats, Mr Lee said the number of defects reported has not changed significantly.
The Construction Quality Assessment System (Conquas) score, an independent assessment of building quality done by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), shows that BTO flat quality has improved.
Mr Lee added that Conquas scores rose from 79 in 2003 to 89 last year.
On the recent spate of complaints against projects under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS), he said that HDB provides broad planning parameters such as the mix of flat sizes and range of facilities.
Developers, therefore, have the flexibility to design, price and construct the flats within requirements set by relevant authorities like the BCA and Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Mr Lee said that under the Sale and Purchase Agreement, the developer is "contractually obliged" to rectify defects within the liability period.
"Although HDB is not a party to the Sale and Purchase Agreement, it plays an active role in ensuring a fair and satisfactory outcome. When DBSS flat buyers raise concerns or feedback about DBSS units, HDB will ask the developer to take appropriate action," he added.
Orange Grove shooting: Police actions correspond to threat faced
The shooting incident involving the police near Shangri-La Hotel in May corresponded to the threat faced, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean told Parliament yesterday.
He said the car had crashed through security barriers around the hotel, where the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major international security summit, was being held.
DPM Teo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, said the summit was assessed to be subject to a "high level of threat" because of the presence of defence ministers and security chiefs from around the world.
In the current security climate, such an event could be seen as a "prime target for terrorists", he added.
"The threat of terrorism is real and present. The police will continue to do their utmost to counter security threats to secure Singapore and protect Singaporeans from those who wish to carry out acts of violence and destruction."
The shooting resulted in the death of car driver Mohamad Taufik Zahar, 34. His passengers, Mohamed Ismail, 31, and Muhammad Syahid Mohamed Yasin, 26, were arrested. Drugs were found in the car.
DPM Teo said: "In a situation where a driver ignores police's repeated orders to stop and crashes his vehicle through the concrete barriers, causing an imminent threat to lives, the police's procedure, as a last resort, is to open fire at the driver of the vehicle to neutralise the threat immediately to prevent it from causing danger to the event and those involved in the event."
He added that the measures taken by the police were precise and their effect limited to the vehicle and those in it.
Committee to consider smaller GRCs
The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) was formed two months ago, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament yesterday.
The formation of the EBRC, which redraws constituency boundaries, is the first formal step towards calling a General Election (GE).
Responding to queries, PM Lee said he had asked the committee to consider the population shifts and housing developments since the last exercise.
He also asked it to consider having smaller Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) to reduce the average size of the GRC to below five and to have at least 12 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs).
There are currently 15 GRCs and 12 SMCs.
Mr Lee added that he could not promise a minimum period between the publication of the report and the calling of a GE, as it depends "on the exigencies of the situation and... on when elections become necessary".
Previously, it had taken as short as one day, and as long as one month and 26 days after the report was submitted.
The EBRC is appointed by the PM and comprises five civil servants.
When asked if its members could be drawn from various political parties, PM Lee said he was not sure if "that's an entirely good idea".
He added that this was the practice in the US where members of the House of Representatives decide on the demarcation and "carve it up among themselves".
"It's a political deal... I think it's best we leave this to the civil servants to work at," he said.
Teen writes apology in own blood
He had slit his wrists and message was believed to be for another teen
An apology scrawled in blood shocked residents at a block in Choa Chu Kang yesterday.
The message, which read "I A Sorry" (sic), is believed to have been painted on the wall of Block 214 at Choa Chu Kang Central by a 19-year-old male who used his blood after slitting his wrists.
The teen has since been arrested for attempted suicide, and is now in the Institute of Mental Health.
Police investigations are ongoing.
Read the full report in our print edition on July 14. Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop