Condo resident who verbally abused security officer apologises in private meeting

Senior security supervisor Steven Heng, who was verbally abused at Eight Riversuites condominium by a resident called Ramesh, pictured on Oct 30, 2019. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - The condominium resident who verbally abused a security officer has "apologised many times" to him during a private, hour-long meeting on Wednesday (Oct 30).

The Eight Riversuites resident, Mr Erramalli Ramesh, was very remorseful when he met senior security supervisor Steven Heng, said a security industry association leader present at the meeting.

In a Facebook post, honorary secretary of the Association Of Certified Security Agencies Gary Haris added that Mr Erramalli had known Mr Heng "quite well" and always addressed him as "uncle Steven".

The two have also chatted before when they bumped into each other around the condo, he said.

The Straits Times had observed Mr Heng meeting with industry association leaders at around 7.45pm on Wednesday at the condo's guard post. They then headed up in the lift to meet Mr Erramalli.

Mr Haris made his Facebook post shortly after the meeting to say both parties have buried the hatchet.

The saga, which blew up over the Deepavali weekend, stemmed from a viral video that showed Mr Erramalli swearing at Mr Heng after being told by the security officer that he needed to pay a $10 fee for guests parking at the condo after 11pm.

Mr Erramalli's guest had come over at about 10.30pm for Deepavali festivities.

The video of the incident made its rounds online, and sparked outrage among netizens. Some who dug up personal information about Mr Erramalli, and an online petition calling for his company, JP Morgan, to fire him was launched.

Netizens also criticised Mr Erramalli for being rude to security officers, and the incident sparked many comments about foreigners and foreign talent in Singapore.

In response to queries, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said Mr Erramalli is married to a Singaporean who was born here, and obtained citizenship on the sponsorship of his wife under the Family Ties scheme.

Both Mr Erramalli and Mr Heng had filed separate police reports following the incident.

The MHA spokesman said the police are investigating a report that was lodged against Mr Erramalli, 44, for an offence of intentionally causing harassment to a security officer deployed at Eight Riversuites condominium.

"The police take a stern view towards any abusive behaviour against security officers who are carrying out their duties," said the spokesman.

In his Facebook post on Wednesday night, Mr Haris said he hopes condo managing agents and management committees will do more to raise awareness of the estate rules and by-laws, so frontline security personnel are not put in the difficult position of enforcing rules that residents might not be aware of.

Providing additional details of the private meeting, he wrote: "Mr Erramalli acknowledged that (Mr Heng) was a very humble and good security supervisor and he did not mean to hurt or harm him in any way. He was worked up over the MCST (Management Corporation Strata Title) rule of collecting $10 parking fees for the overnight parking."

Mr Heng has forgiven Mr Erramalli "whole-heartedly" and thanked him for apologising in person, Mr Haris added.

He said Mr Heng also urged everyone "to forgive Mr Erramalli and forget this unfortunate incident".

Security Association Singapore (SAS) president Raj Joshua Thomas, who also attended the meeting, said Mr Erramalli had told him the incident "is not reflective of who he really is".

"Having met him this evening, I believe him," Mr Thomas said in a statement.

He noted that everyone has probably lost their temper and said something they have regretted before. "What is important is that we make amends when we are wrong. Ramesh has done this - sincerely and honestly," he said.

Mr Thomas added: "As a society, we band quickly together when we see something that we feel is unjust. This is what makes us strong. But we should not do so to destroy people or their lives. Singaporeans, like Steven and Ramesh, deserve to live in our own country without fear or abuse - online or offline."

- Additional reporting by Prisca Ang

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.