Man nabbed for using criminal force on NEA officer

A 57-year-old man has been arrested for using criminal force on a National Environment Agency (NEA) enforcement officer.

Four NEA officers spotted the man smoking under a covered walkway, where smoking is prohibited, in Woodlands Centre Road on Aug 8. They stopped the man, but he refused to give his particulars to the officers.

Instead, he forcefully grabbed the arm of one of the officers, the police said in a statement yesterday. Police were alerted and subsequently arrested the man.

If convicted of using criminal force to deter a public servant from the discharge of his duty, the man can be jailed for up to four years and/or fined.

NEA says on its website that its officers should not be obstructed from carrying out enforcement, and this includes any verbal or physical abuse by uncooperative offenders or members of the public.

The website states: "NEA takes a serious view on the abuse of our officers and will not hesitate to work with the Singapore Police Force to take action, including criminal prosecution, against offenders who abuse our officers."

NEA's website lists areas where smoking is prohibited, including sheltered walkways, linkways and covered drop-off points. It states that "the Government's long-term policy goal is to prohibit smoking in all public areas to protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke".

"We seek to reach this goal by progressively extending the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act to more public places where the public will be impacted in their daily lives," says NEA.

Police investigations are ongoing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2017, with the headline 'Man nabbed for using criminal force on NEA officer'. Print Edition | Subscribe