Town council orders 67-year-old woman to clear rubbish outside her flat within a week

The woman's house has been piled high with items for more than a year, with objects sometimes spilling into the shared corridor or in front of her neighbours' doors.
The woman's house has been piled high with items for more than a year, with objects sometimes spilling into the shared corridor or in front of her neighbours' doors.PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Items piled up outside the woman's house at Block 522 Hougang Avenue 6.
Items piled up outside the woman's house at Block 522 Hougang Avenue 6.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council issued a warning on Tuesday (Nov 5) to a 67-year-old woman to clear up the rubbish outside her flat within a week, or risk having town council staff move her possessions for her.

The woman's executive maisonette flat at Block 522 Hougang 6 Avenue has been piled high with stuff for more than a year, with objects sometimes spilling into the shared corridor or in front of her neighbours' doors.

Residents said town council staff had paid her several visits, but each time she would move the objects into her flat, only for the problem to recur in a few days.

Chinese evening daily Shinmin Daily reported on Saturday that the woman, referred to only as Ms Wang, no longer lived in the flat, but told reporters that she intends to move back in the future.

She told Shinmin: "I come back to pack up my things every day, but can only do so slowly because I'm quite old."

The issue of hoarding has resurfaced in recent weeks after a 68-year-old man was found dead among mounds of rubbish in a Bedok North flat in September.

The police were called after a neighbour complained of a strong stench coming from the 12th-floor flat and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers had to use a hydraulic tool to forcibly enter it.

A 2010 study by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) with more than 6,000 respondents found that one in 50 people here will display hoarding behaviour in his lifetime, said Dr Kelvin Ng, a consultant from IMH.

 

Hoarding comes with possible dangers as the items collected can pose a hygiene or fire hazard to the occupant or neighbours, say social workers.

Correction note: The original report said that the town council had ordered a woman to clear the rubbish in her flat. This is incorrect. The town council ordered her to clear the rubbish outside her unit. We are sorry for the error.