Security union, groups back officer abused by condo resident

Screengrabs from a video showing a man expressing his displeasure at a security officer after being told that he needed to pay parking fees for guests visiting his condominium. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INCIDENTS/ YOUTUBE
Screengrabs from a video showing a man expressing his displeasure at a security officer after being told that he needed to pay parking fees for guests visiting his condominium. PHOTO: SINGAPORE INCIDENTS/ YOUTUBE

Show of support comes after video of man shouting, swearing at security guards goes viral

The Union of Security Employees (USE) and two security agency associations have strongly condemned the abuse of security personnel, as a video of a man shouting and hurling vulgarities at his Whampoa condominium's security guards went viral over the weekend.

The man's employer, global financial services company JP Morgan, told The Straits Times yesterday that it is aware of the video and is looking into the matter.

In a video uploaded to YouTube last Friday, a man in a sleeveless shirt and shorts is seen expressing his displeasure virulently after being told by security officers that he needed to pay parking fees for guests visiting the condo.

He told the security officers that he had bought his apartment for $1.5 million, and began swearing at one officer, who responded: "We are just enforcing the rules here."

USE said yesterday that it is working with the police on the case, and that it has been handing out notices about respecting security officers who are performing their duties.

"While we empathise with the resident on his unhappiness with the rules of the estate, his right of recourse should be through his management committee," said USE's general secretary Raymond Chin.

"We strongly condemn any form of abuse of our security officers... The union stands united with our officers," he added.

The union and both associations commended the officers for being restrained and calm throughout the incident, and stressed that they were just enforcing rules set by the condo management, or Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST).

WRONG ON MANY LEVELS

What this resident did and said was wrong - at so many levels. It is these examples of modern-day bigotry and a sense of entitlement that the light of Deepavali seeks to dispel.

SENIOR MINISTER THARMAN SHANMUGARATNAM, in a Facebook post.

 

Security Association Singapore's (SAS) president Raj Joshua Thomas said: "Their work is instrumental in helping to keep the living environment a safe and civil one for all residents. In the event that security officers are lenient in enforcing in-house rules, the security agency is often penalised though onerous liquidated damages."

Association of Certified Security Agencies' president Robert Wiener said: "It is essential that the public understand that security staff are there representing the building owners and MCSTs and they have to enforce the by-laws of the estate without fear or favour."

Labour MP Zainal Sapari yesterday weighed in on Facebook, and called for more protection for security officers. He said that the Protection from Harassment Act (Poha) should be extended to include security officers in condos and private establishments, in addition to public service workers.

Those found guilty of abusing or insulting condo security officers could then be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to a year, or both.

A screenshot of the man's comment in a closed Facebook group for the condo's residents - in which he explained his side of the story - also made the rounds yesterday.

He claimed that the security officers were "bullying" his visitors by asking what time they were going to leave. He added that his Deepavali weekend was ruined by the incident as he had received threatening calls after disclosing his mobile number in the viral video.

Mr Thomas said: "SAS trusts that due process will take its course, and cautions against any vigilantism or doxxing against the resident."

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in a Facebook post last night that what the resident did and said was wrong.

"It is these examples of modern-day bigotry and a sense of entitlement that the light of Deepavali seeks to dispel. Kudos to the condo security officer, who handled the abuse and a very unpleasant situation in a dignified way," he said.

"But we should absolutely avoid threatening or harassing the resident concerned. A police report has been made by the security officer, and we should leave it to the police to handle," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2019, with the headline 'Security union, groups back officer abused by condo resident'. Print Edition | Subscribe