Bike-sharing firm ofo lodges police report over boy throwing bike down from Whampoa HDB block

SINGAPORE - Bicycle-sharing firm ofo bike has lodged a police report over a person throwing one of their bikes down from a Housing Board block, the firm told The Straits Times on Thursday (June 15).

A video had gone viral showing a boy hurling the yellow bicycle down at least 10 floors, with the person filming the act saying it is not his fault.

A spokesman for ofo bike told ST that they are currently "working very closely with the relevant authorities to investigate into the matter thoroughly, especially since this is something that goes beyond vandalism and poses a threat to the safety of everyone around".

The bicycle was found stuck on a ledge of one of the lower floors of Block 116B Jalan Tenteram in Whampoa, and was removed by a worker from the Jalan Besar Town Council, according to The New Paper.

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ofo declined to comment on where it happened.

When ST visited Tenteram Peak on Thursday, some residents said they heard a loud noise in the wee hours, but did not see the bike.

"I heard a loud sound past midnight but when I waked to the window, I didn't see anything, so I didn't think much about it," said Ms Lisa Chen, 28, who is self-employed.

A 40-year-old housewife who declined to be named added: "We were asleep, and it was before 1am when we heard a very loud sound, like something dropping, but we didn't get up to see what happened."

A photographer who wanted to be known only as Ms Jana said her husband heard a noise past midnight as well. When she woke up on Thursday, their chat groups with other residents of the area were buzzing with alerts of a bicycle being thrown from a height.

"I walk my dog around that time, around 12am, and there are still many people out and about. It could have hit someone," she added of the incident.

Residents also told The Straits Times that police officers patrol the neighbourhood regularly, due to youth making noise in the wee hours at a nearby common playground.

When asked about the incident, Mr Elgin Ee, general manager of another bike-sharing company oBike said: "We are appalled by this abusive and killer litter act. We condemn such actions and hope that justice can be served to send out a strong message and deter similar incidents in future.”

In 2015, a 16-year-old who committed five killer-litter offences over a year was ordered to undergo 36 months' split probation. He flung objects like bricks and bicycle wheels from high floors, hitting a woman on the head in one case.

 

The firm already has in place several initiatives to prevent the abuse of their bikes, said the spokesman.

This includes increasing the number of designated parking spots, educating the community on responsible biking practices, and encouraging the community to report these incidents on channels like its Facebook page and app.

 

"Additionally, we are constantly looking at other ways to do so, including improving the bike technology to better, and more effectively, identify and minimise these situations," said the spokesman.

Responding to queries from ST on Thursday, the police confirmed that a report was lodged and investigations are ongoing.

In May, another bike-sharing company, oBike, told ST it would lodge a police report over one of its bicycles that was dumped in a canal in Punggol.

Three bike-sharing companies launched in Singapore in the first quarter of this year - MoBike in March, ofo bike in February and oBike in January.

Their launches were quickly followed by reports and sightings of vandalised bicycles, however.