NEA using cameras to spot smokers at home? Untrue

In a Facebook post on Sept 26, the NEA said the cameras spotted are used only for high-rise littering enforcement.
In a Facebook post on Sept 26, the NEA said the cameras spotted are used only for high-rise littering enforcement.PHOTOS: TWITTER/REALITYDREAMZXC

Agency clarifies online rumours and says its cameras in HDB blocks are used to nab litterbugs

The National Environment Agency (NEA) does not conduct enforcement against individuals who smoke in their homes as the law does not prohibit smoking in residences, the agency said in a Facebook post yesterday.

The post comes after rumours circulated on social media earlier this week, claiming that the agency had put up cameras in Housing Board (HDB) blocks to catch people smoking in their bedrooms.

"Beware of #FakeNews," the NEA said.

On Sunday, Twitter user @kiisamii claimed that his brother's friend was fined $200 for smoking near his room and that the NEA had photographic evidence of him doing so.

In response to his post, another Twitter user posted a picture of equipment with the NEA's logo which was placed along the corridor of an HDB flat.

A third user shared the photos as well, with the caption: "So they just summoned someone and this was the camera that they installed to catch those smoking in bedrooms and all... NEA you so despo is it? On ground didn't catch enough? (sic)"

In its Facebook post yesterday, the NEA said the cameras spotted are used only for high-rise littering enforcement. "NEA currently deploys surveillance cameras in areas with persistent high-rise littering to catch the culprits," it said.

 
 

It added that such cameras are positioned to focus only on the external facade of the housing units or common areas that are being investigated. Strict protocols are also in place on the use of the video footage, which is shared only to facilitate investigations or for the purpose of prosecution in court.

The NEA said it has thermal surveillance cameras for smoking enforcement purposes. These will be deployed from the first half of next year in areas where smoking is prohibited, as well as public spaces where people persistently flout the smoking ban, such as at common corridors, lift lobbies and staircase landings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2018, with the headline 'NEA using cameras to spot smokers at home? Untrue'. Print Edition | Subscribe