SINGAPORE - The Marsiling-Yew Tee Town Council on Tuesday (Jan 21) clarified that it did not lodge a police report to arrest a resident for service and conservancy charges (S&CC) arrears.
Instead, the resident was arrested after the court issued a warrant of arrest in December 2016, when she did not turn up for a mandated court hearing, the town council said in a Facebook post.
The town council's clarification followed a Facebook post by career counsellor and activist Gilbert Goh on Sunday about the resident, whom he said had been arrested at her office for not paying accumulated S&CC bills of $2,150.
In his post, he said she is a single mother who works as a promoter, and claimed that she had stayed in the police lock-up for nearly 10 hours before being released.
Yesterday, the town council said the resident, who lives in a five-room flat, has owed service and conservancy charges for several years before 2016. "Despite attempts at engaging the resident, the town council unfortunately had to undertake legal recourse," it added.
The town council then moved to prosecute the resident for the arrears under the Town Councils Act. It did not respond to queries about the case.
A police spokesman told The Straits Times the resident was arrested on Dec 14, 2017, and held for 1.5 hours.
According to the State Courts' website, a warrant of arrest will be issued against a person when he fails to attend court.
The warrant will be handed over to the Warrant Enforcement Unit (WEU), a division of the Singapore Police Force, or the respective enforcement agencies for them to execute it. The police will either arrest the individual, or he may be asked to surrender himself to the WEU.
Once the warrant is executed and the person in question has been brought before the court, he will be asked to explain his absence on the previous hearing date.
In its post, the town council said it attempted to contact the resident to work out an instalment plan to settle the arrears even after the warrant of arrest was issued, with the aim of withdrawing the legal action.
The town council said it sent six notifications to the resident by post between December 2016 and October 2017, asking her to contact the town council for an instalment plan. It also conducted house visits in August 2016 and November 2017 to try and reach her.
The resident eventually signed an instalment plan with the town council on Dec 19, 2017, and made partial payment of the arrears, it said, adding that it immediately withdrew the court proceedings and updated the Warrant Enforcement Unit on the same day.
The town council said the latest instalment plan, made in November last year, allowed the resident to "gradually pay off the arrears while keeping up with the current monthly payment".
It added that it will also work with grassroots partners to help her.