SINGAPORE - A 41-year-old Singaporean man was charged in court on Saturday (Oct 15) with causing a fire that destroyed two coffee shops and a wet market in Jurong West.
Lim Ying Siang allegedly committed the mischief by setting fire to styrofoam boxes at the market at Block 493, Jurong West Street 41, on Tuesday (Oct 11) at about 2.42am, knowing it would likely cause destruction.
Lim, who is charged with the offence of committing mischief by fire with the intent to destroy a building, could be jailed for life, or imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined.
With his head slightly bowed, Lim, who was wearing a striped polo shirt, had a blank expression when the charge was read out.
He is remanded for a week for investigations and recovery of evidence. His case will be heard again on Oct 21.
Lim was arrested by police on Thursday (Oct 13) along Jurong West Street 41.
The fire engulfed a wet market and two coffee shops. About 300 residents from the surrounding blocks were evacuated.
Many stalls and equipment, including tables, chairs and refrigerators, were damaged.
A woman in her 60s was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital for breathing difficulties. No other casualties were reported.
The blaze left stallholders without their livelihoods, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars a day. Some only had 15 minutes to salvage belongings before hoardings were put up at the site later that night.
A new market "may take a year-plus to build", Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng said on Thursday night.
On Thursday, a multi-agency effort was also launched to help the 51 stallholders who were affected.
The Housing Board (HDB) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) provided stallholders from Blocks 493 and 494 in Jurong West Street 41 with a list of market stalls and food stalls available in Clementi and Ghim Moh. The Ministry of Social and Family Development is also providing help.
HDB began propping up the structure at Block 493 on Friday (Oct 14), so stallholders could go in and retrieve their belongings, which they could do once the site was certified safe. HDB and NEA are also disinfecting the site daily, treating it against mosquitoes and clearing away debris.
On Friday (Oct 14), Commander of Jurong Division Koh Wei Keong said: "This is a serious crime which had resulted in extensive damage to property and loss of income to innocent victims.
"The police have zero tolerance for such lawless acts and will ensure that perpetrators are dealt with to the fullest extent of the law."