Man hurls ofo bike from HDB block

Stills from a video that has gone viral show a young man throwing an ofo bike from a Housing Board block in Whampoa yesterday. The bicycle got stuck on a lower-floor ledge of Block 116B, Jalan Tenteram.
Stills from a video that has gone viral show a young man throwing an ofo bike from a Housing Board block in Whampoa yesterday. The bicycle got stuck on a lower-floor ledge of Block 116B, Jalan Tenteram.
Stills from a video that has gone viral show a young man throwing an ofo bike from a Housing Board block in Whampoa yesterday. The bicycle got stuck on a lower-floor ledge of Block 116B, Jalan Tenteram.
Stills from a video that has gone viral show a young man throwing an ofo bike from a Housing Board block in Whampoa yesterday. The bicycle got stuck on a lower-floor ledge of Block 116B, Jalan Tenteram.
Stills from a video that has gone viral show a young man throwing an ofo bike from a Housing Board block in Whampoa yesterday. The bicycle got stuck on a lower-floor ledge of Block 116B, Jalan Tenteram.
Stills from a video that has gone viral show a young man throwing an ofo bike from a Housing Board block in Whampoa yesterday. The bicycle got stuck on a lower-floor ledge of Block 116B, Jalan Tenteram.
Stills from a video that has gone viral show a young man throwing an ofo bike from a Housing Board block in Whampoa yesterday. The bicycle got stuck on a lower-floor ledge of Block 116B, Jalan Tenteram.
Stills from a video that has gone viral show a young man throwing an ofo bike from a Housing Board block in Whampoa yesterday. The bicycle got stuck on a lower-floor ledge of Block 116B, Jalan Tenteram.

Police investigation under way; bike sharing firm looking into using technology to minimise acts of abuse

Bicycle-sharing firm ofo has lodged a police report over a bike that was thrown from a Housing Board block in Whampoa yesterday.

In a 13-second video that has gone viral on social media, a young man can be seen dropping one of ofo's bright yellow bikes down at least seven floors. In the background, a male voice is heard saying "this is not my...fault".

In a statement, ofo said: "We reserve all rights to sue the suspects and/or claim damages... The concept of sharing is the core of our business and we will put in relentless efforts to help authorities better regulate the industry."

The company told The Straits Times it is also looking at using technology to identify and minimise such situations more effectively.

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Without features such as GPS tracking or QR code-enabled smart locks, ofo bikes have been particularly prone to abuse.

The bicycle was found stuck on a lower-floor ledge of Block 116B, Jalan Tenteram.

In response to queries, police confirmed a report has been lodged, and investigations are ongoing.

RESIDENTS' REACTIONS

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 HOUSEWIFE


I walk my dog around that time, around 12am, and there are (often) still many people out and about. It could have hit someone.

MS JANA, a photographer.

This is the latest in a spate of cases in which bicycles belonging to bike-sharing companies have been damaged intentionally.

Bike sharing firms MoBike, ofo and oBike were launched in Singapore earlier this year. Last month, two oBikes were found in Whampoa River, behind Whampoa Community Club.

Photographs of bike sharing firms' bicycles chained up outside HDB flats have also made the rounds online.

When The Straits Times visited Tenteram Peak, where the latest incident took place, some residents said they heard a loud noise in the wee hours but did not see the bike being thrown.

A 40-year-old housewife who declined to be named said: "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 she found out only when she checked social media groups that she and other residents of the area belonged to. By then, many were sharing photos and videos of the incident and damaged bike.

"I walk my dog around that time, around 12am, and there are (often) still many people out and about. It could have hit someone," she said.

Mr Heng Chee How, MP for the area, said: "The culprit has no concern for the safety of others and no respect for the property of others. When caught, he must be dealt with severely under the law."

Residents said police often patrol the neighbourhood because teena- gers create a ruckus at the nearby playground late into the night.

Commenting on the incident, Mr Elgin Ee, general manager of 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.

"Since our launch, we have had a few who abused our bikes either by dismantling them or throwing them into canals." The company had lodged police reports over the abuse of its bicycles in the past.

"This was disappointing. But we had a few bright sparks. For every abuse case, there have been many more who exhibited positive riding behaviours," Mr Ee added. "Abuse cases account for about 1 per cent of our fleet."

The firm has taken steps to curb intentional damage by increasing designated parking spots, educating the community on responsible biking practices and encouraging people to report incidents on channels such as its Facebook page and app.

Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, called the act "reckless and malicious".

Dr Wan said: "He (the culprit) appears to have no regard for rules. Is he trying to send a message that he is cool and that he can literally get away with murder?"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2017, with the headline 'Man hurls ofo bike from HDB block'. Print Edition | Subscribe