Here are the 10 most read stories on ST's website in 2014

The year of 2014 was a busy one for The Straits Times newsroom. Fresh figures derived using data analytical tools show that the following pieces were among the most popular and well-read articles on The Straits Times' website for the whole of last year.

1. Which passports are most accepted around the world?


After the Visa Restrictions Index ranked Singapore passports as the sixth internationally for offering visa-free access to 167 of 219 countries (on par with Australia and Greece), The Straits Times published the full index by consultancy firm Henly & Partners.

It garnered nearly a million page views and 583,000 shares on Facebook.

Find out which countries made the top five here.

2. Sim Lim Square saga involving Mobile Air and its owner Jover Chew

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Sim Lim Square's already notorious reputation among Singaporeans and tourists took a further nosedive thanks to the actions of Jover Chew, the owner of phone shop Mobile Air. A video surfaced of how Vietnamese tourist and factory worker Pham Van Thoai was forced to kneel down and beg for a refund after realising he was being charged an additional fee for an iPhone 6 purchase.

Enraged netizens went on an online witchhunt to expose Mr Chew's personal details, while a crowdfunding campaign was initiated to raised funds to buy a new phone for Mr Pham. The saga, which prompted past customers and former staff of the shop to come forward with their stories, also sparked a police crackdown on errant retailers in the mall.

Read the initial story here, on how Mr Pham was refusing anymore help here and another similar incident here.

3. Developments on missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370


Nearly three weeks after the March 8 disappearance of MH370, a report about how angry and anxious relatives of Chinese passengers on board the flight were told by a Malaysian team that there was sealed evidence that could not be made public attracted more than 400,000 views.

The Straits Times' Big Story site on the ongoing search efforts of the aircraft which carried 227 passengers and 12 crew members also did well and was visited 260,000 times.

Read about the relatives' story here.

4. Gone in a year: How the widow of killed Changi Airport worker spent nearly $1 million


There was an outpouring of sympathy for Madam Pusparani Mohan, 34, when her husband Chandra Mogan Panjanathan was killed by a hijacked taxi while working at Changi Airport's Budget Terminal in March 2012.

But public sentiment quickly turned against the widow when a Straits Times report revealed that the $1 million in insurance payouts and donations she received had been frittered away - through failed investments and lack of financial planning - in just a year.

Her confession was read almost half a million times (497,517), chalked up 150,000 Facebook shares and attracted close to 1,500 comments on the social media platform.

Read it here.

5. 10 things you might not know you could be punished for in Singapore


Did you know you can be jailed for up to a month for purposely obstructing someone walking? Or that a fine of up to $5,000 awaits you if your dog injures someone?

ST Digital's breaking news journalist Jalelah Abu Baker was inspired to trawl through the Penal Code in search of 10 lesser-known offences, following news that the National Environment Agency had issued warning letters to 14 motorists for leaving their vehicle engines idle while stationary.

The story went viral, racking up 250,000 page views and was shared 130,000 times on Facebook.

Read about the other eight obscure offences here.

6. Popular night club Zouk to close at the end of 2014


Mr Lincoln Cheng, founder of the Jiak Kim Street dance club, dropped a bombshell in June when he expressed the possibility of closing down Zouk at the end of the year. He said he was tired of getting short lease extensions and wanted a three-year one instead.

It clearly struck a chord with Singaporeans indignant at the prospect of the 23-year-old icon closing down, with 223,000 page views and 76,000 Facebook shares. A petition called "Save Zouk" was also launched online - it has garnered more than 39,000 signatures to date.

Read more here.

7. Student's seat-hogging antics and complaint against Starbuck staff backfire spectacularly


Millennia Institute student Huixin Yap was pilloried by netizens after posting a comment on Starbucks' Facebook page criticising the coffee chain's staff. Her complaint? That they had put aside books belonging to her and her friends and cleared their drinks after they left the cafe for 30 minutes.

Her actions earned widespread condemnation in an online poll conducted by The Straits Times, while she underwent counselling and made a public apology through her school principal.

The full story here.

8. What local actress Angeline Yap had to say about appearing topless in Chinese film Lang Tong


In a Life! interview, the former beauty queen talks about why she was willing to strip for the camera in director Sam Loh's twisted thriller, which premiered at December's Singapore International Film Festival, about a woman conspiring to murder her older sister.

"I wanted to change people's mindset about nudity being taboo. I feel that Singapore movies are too normal and too safe," she says, adding that the nudity was integral to the plot.

Read more of the interview here.

9. British expat Anton Casey parts ways with Crossinvest Asia


A day after Mr Casey departed Singapore for Perth, Crossinvest Asia announced in a Facebook statement that the company had parted ways with its senior wealth manager.

The 39-year-old, who is married to former Miss Singapore Bernice Wong, caused a furore after posting disparaging comments on social media. He had called public transport commuters "poor people" and claimed he needed to "wash the stench of public transport off me".

Read more here.

10. Singapore Customs reminds travellers to pay GST for overseas purchases


Ahead of the June holidays, Singapore Customs issued an advisory in May reminding travellers to pay GST if the value of goods they purchased overseas exceeds a certain amount.

Read more here.

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