SINGAPORE - Stallholders in a coffeeshop riddled with rats and cockroaches for the past two years are asking for help in resolving the problem.
Evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported on Thursday (Aug 6) that the problem in the coffeeshop at Block 217, Bedok North Street 1, has caused business to fall by about 20 per cent.
Quoting stallholders, the paper said that a grass patch nearby houses the rats and cockroaches, and that the pests regularly enter the coffeeshop, scaring customers away.
The stallholders have engaged pest control services twice to get rid of the problem, but it still persists. They said that the situation gets especially bad when there is rain, as the pests seek shelter in the coffeeshop.
The Wanbao report said that the problem may extend to a bigger area as another grass patch near Block 213 also had rats scurrying around. The paper's reporter counted 10 rats in less than 10 minutes. Residents interviewed said that the rats feed on the leftovers that people leave for stray cats in the area.
In response, however, a spokesman for East Coast Town Council clarified that it had promptly moved in with its pest control contractor and the National Environment Agency (NEA) when the news was first reported on citizen journalism website Stomp on Aug 3.
There was no sign of a rat infestation at the the grass patch highlighted, the spokesman added, but were instead discovered in a drain beneath a row of tables at the outdoor area outside the coffee shop.
It is understood that the NEA had taken action against the coffee shop on July 29 for a failure to keep their premises clean. It was instructed to ensure proper food storage and refuse management.
"The Town Council wishes to assure all our residents that we have been carrying out weekly pest control treatments at common areas and the pest problem in our estates is under control," said the spokesman.
"However, what we have no control of is the area within the coffee shops, stalls, shops, eating outlets and construction sites. These stakeholders need to do their part to keep their premises clean."