Monday, July 28, 2008

Resident's Usual Vigilance Slips, And Car Is Hit

Source : The Straits Times, July 28, 2008


Most vandalised cars belong to those yet to sign collective sale deal

THE Laguna Park car vandals have struck again: At least two more cars have been hit, including one which had already been targeted before.

A brand-new Toyota Altis was found scratched last Saturday.

The other car, a silver Nissan Cefiro, understood to have already been sprayed with black paint last week, was also scratched on Saturday. Its owner confirmed these details but declined to be named.

This Mercedes Benz is streaked with black spray paint.

The Straits Times reported last Thursday that several cars in the estate had been damaged - sprayed with black paint or a corrosive liquid, or scratched. Residents there are divided over putting the place up for a collective sale.

Residents of the 530-unit development in Marine Parade Road say the three latest attacks bring the total number of vandalism cases to at least nine in the last month.

Coincidentally, all but one of the cars belong to owners who have not yet agreed to the sale.

This Toyota Corona is scratched and sprayed with black paint.

The owner of the Altis, Mr Lau Cher Chye, said he has been parking his three-month- old car near the security guard post at the condominium's entrance as a precaution after reading the report about the spate of vandalism.

The 57-year-old financial adviser said: 'My wife and I thought we would be targeted soon.'

True enough, it happened last Saturday afternoon - on the one occasion when the couple had parked their car away from the guard post. They had just returned from the supermarket at 3.45pm and had many bags of groceries to lug home, so they parked the car nearer their block, Mr Lau explained.

A corrosive liquid is splashed on the bonnet of this Lexus as well as that of a Toyota Altis.

He added that since they were going out that evening, the car would be left there for only a couple of hours.

As it turned out, that was enough time for several gashes to be made on the doors on one side of the champagne-coloured car.

Like other affected residents, Mr Lau said he believed he became a victim because he did not put his signature down for the collective sale.

Mr Lau's three-month-old car is scratched when he parks it further away from the security guard post - for just two hours. It is one of at least two cars vandalised over the weekend.

'It is quite obvious. In one month, there are already so many cases, and most victims have not given their consent yet. Why such a coincidence?' he asked.

Nothing like this has happened to him before in his 30 years there, he said.

As of last Saturday, close to 64 per cent of home owners had voted for the proposed sale, according to notices put up around the estate.

The sales committee has until the end of the year to garner the 80 per cent vote needed to proceed with the deal.

A distraught Mr Lau said: 'We are very upset by this act of gangsterism. We love this estate. It's been very peaceful all this while. That's why we refuse to sign.'

He has made a police report but has not had repairs done to the car yet. He will also park his car near the guard post from now on, he said.

The estate's management committee will hold a dialogue with residents this Saturday to discuss the vandalism problem.

Notices posted around the estate said the committee would look into installing closed-circuit television cameras, and added that the management took 'a very serious view of the matter' and would hand over offenders to the authorities.

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