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Thread: Vandals keen on en-bloc sale damage cars

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    Default Vandals keen on en-bloc sale damage cars

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime%2B...ry_260660.html

    July 24, 2008

    Vandals keen on en-bloc sale damage cars

    Lexus and Toyota vandalised in the latest attacks in Laguna Park

    By Carolyn Quek


    UGLY ACT: Corrosive liquid was thrown on a Lexus belonging to a Laguna Park resident who is against a collective sale of the estate. It may have been a vicious attempt to change his mind. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

    HUNGER for en-bloc dollars looks to have turned vicious at a quiet private estate in East Coast.

    On Tuesday night, two residents of the 530-unit Laguna Park estate discovered that their cars had been doused with a corrosive liquid, possibly paint thinner.

    They were among the residents who had not yet agreed to put the seaside development up for sale. Earlier this month, two other cars belonging to the dissenting group were also vandalised.

    Residents claim they were the latest of several cases of vandalism that began after the possibility of going en-bloc arose last December.

    The estate has until the end of this year to gather an 80 per cent vote to put it up for sale. But so far, residents say less than 65 per cent are onboard.

    Residents have been told by a property valuer that an average unit could be worth more than $2.1 million and the penthouses almost $4 million if the estate goes en-bloc. A resident said the market rate for a normal unit now is about $1.3 million.

    Some of the holdouts have lived in Laguna Park since it was built in 1977, while others have been there for many years.

    Some residents told The Straits Times they were surprised that the sale has fostered so much acrimony.

    Five cars have been vandalised in recent weeks, said the outgoing chairman of the condominium's management committee, Mr Chua SC, who declined to give his full name. Some vehicles were doused with a corrosive liquid while others were scratched and splashed with black paint.

    Police reports have been made and investigations are under way.

    An independent analyst said residents sometimes do strange things in the hopes of pushing through an en bloc sale.

    'But resorting to criminal acts...this would be the first time,' said Mr Ku Swee Yong, Savills' director of marketing and business development.

    The vandalism could ultimately be a futile exercise with the cooling property market, said Mr Ku.

    'It's a bit of a long shot in these market conditions to find buyers.'

    Laguna Park residents told The Straits Times yesterday that they believed the vehicle attacks were 'inside jobs' committed by people who support the en-bloc deal.

    If this proves true, Mr Chua thinks it is a 'very stupid, silly and naive way of trying to get people to sign'.

    'I don't think this is the right way to do it,' said an agitated Mr Chua, who had the logo ripped off his Nissan about three weeks ago.

    Mr Robin Sng, a company director, owns one of the cars damaged on Tuesday night. The corrosive liquid ate away the paint on the bonnet, door and bumper of his four-year-old Lexus.

    'I feel frightened,' he said.

    A brand new Toyota parked 50m away was also vandalised on the same night.

    A resident diligently went round the estate's dustbins and found a can of paint remover in a rubbish bin near the carpark. The can was taken away as evidence by the police, who are investigating the rash of vandalism.

    Mr Chua said he told residents at a recent annual general meeting that something had to be done about the cases.

    Residents earlier shot down the idea of installing surveillance cameras, he said.

    'Now I suppose it has become urgent enough to reactivate the idea.'

    [email protected]

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    money is the root of all evil

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    Default Resident's usual vigilance slips, and car is hit

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapor...ry_261970.html

    July 28, 2008

    LAGUNA PARK VANDALS STRIKE AGAIN

    Resident's usual vigilance slips, and car is hit

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

    By Carolyn Quek



    JULY 12
    This Mercedes Benz is streaked with black spray paint.


    -- PHOTOS: DANNY YAP, DESMOND LIM, SHAHRIYA YAHAYA


    JULY 14
    This Toyota Corona is scratched and sprayed with black paint.



    JULY 22
    A corrosive liquid is splashed on the bonnet of this Lexus as well as that of a Toyota Altis.



    JULY 26
    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.



    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    '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.

    [email protected]

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    http://www.straitstimes.com/ST%2BFor...ry_262565.html

    July 30, 2008

    EN BLOC VANDALISM

    Is Singapore no longer a civilised place?



    GANGSTER-LIKE TACTICS: The number of vandalism cases at Laguna Park totalled eight in the last month. Vandals threw acid on or scratched cars, or sprayed them with black paint. -- ST PHOTOS: DESMOND LIM & SHAHRIYA YAHAYA

    I READ with alarm the report on Monday, 'Laguna Park vandals strike again'. Furthermore, I have been told about residents in other collective sales being pressured into signing in favour of an en bloc sale.

    The idea of proponents resorting to gangster-like tactics like pouring acid on the cars of dissenters comes as a shock to me.

    Is Singapore no longer a civilised place?

    I live in a housing estate where two previous en-bloc attempts failed.

    Neighbours who found out I was not in favour of a collective sale started ignoring me. Some eyed me with dagger-like looks as they walked past.

    Friends who came to visit me were refused entry, ostensibly because the carpark was full, they were told.

    I appeal to the authorities to take a close look at the effect of collective sales on community spirit and neighbourliness.

    I propose that rules be put in place to render such sales invalid if there are proven cases of coercion, threats and bullying of minority groups.


    Heng Chee Tong



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    'Further proof that en-bloc sales bring out the worst in Singaporeans.'

    MRS DEV NAIR: 'I refer to Monday's report, 'Laguna Park vandals strike again'. Here is further proof, if any more is needed, that en bloc property sales bring out the worst in Singaporeans. All the effort the government puts into creating a more gracious society is negated by this one piece of legislation allowing such sales. In our own estate we have seen jeering at meetings, microphones being snatched away from speakers, faeces being thrown at people's doors and the like. It is surprising that despite such ugliness and the several acrimonious court cases, the authorities do not seem to be taking action to ameliorate the situation. Even the new amendments to the Land Titles (Strata) Act have not succeeded in preventing the boorish behaviour of people bent on making money from the unhappiness of others. Isn't it high time the authorities re-looked the legislation allowing collective sales in the light of the higher goal of developing a gracious society?'


    'The same is happening at other estates.'

    MR TAN KENG ANN: 'I assure the Laguna Park victims of en bloc vandalism that they are not alone. The same is happening at other estates and where I live at Green Lodge. My apartment was plastered with a poster 'Trouble maker' and a neighbour had the marque of his Mercedes Benz car ripped off. We reported the incidents to the police and the managing agent. My neighbour and I had questioned the maintenance of the estate and the collective sale issue. It is time for the Ministry of Law to act. The social cost of such sales is too heavy if it carries on this way. I didn't buy a condominium only to be pushed out by my neighbours under duress.'


    'It is imperative that the Ministry of Law act, and the sooner the better.'

    MS MEENAKSHI DO NIN: 'I fear that similar threats and acts of vandalism could happen in the estate where I live too. Like Laguna Park, an interested group set in motion the preliminaries for a collective sale. I read that the Ministry of Law is planning a review of the revised legislation, which took effect on Oct 4 last year. The acts of vandalism and aggression at Laguna Park suggest that it is indeed time to do so. It is imperative that the Ministry of Law act, and the sooner the better.'

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    All collective sales process even before the formation of the SC, should have the residents ( indicating whoever is agreeable or not agreeable )applying to the STB for prior approval to go enbloc in writing with valid reasons and motivations indicated in the application.

    The STB can then use this application as the first basis to overthrow any future conflicts or decide if the building is really degraded enough for enbloc or if it is too expensive to maintain the estate anymore or whether the reasons to go enbloc are valid and if and when necessary.

    Just a suggestion- laugh at me if you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackjack21trader
    All collective sales process even before the formation of the SC, should have the residents ( indicating whoever is agreeable or not agreeable )applying to the STB for prior approval to go enbloc in writing with valid reasons and motivations indicated in the application.

    The STB can then use this application as the first basis to overthrow any future conflicts or decide if the building is really degraded enough for enbloc or if it is too expensive to maintain the estate anymore or whether the reasons to go enbloc are valid and if and when necessary.

    Just a suggestion- laugh at me if you want.

    When the Americans said they could send human beings to the moon way back in the 1950s, the whole world laughed at them; but the Americans had their last laugh.

    The moral is that no idea, however far-fetched, is a silly idea to be laughed at; someday the impossible can become a realty, such as
    cloning

    Your suggestion is good, but the STB says it will kill them (the board members) as they would be over-whelmed with applications since without co-ordination, several or many owners from the same estate could file in their own applications invidividually.

    Allow my two-cents worth of thoughts which may incur the wrath of housing agents and housing developers, but would certainly put a stop to all those mafia and hooliganism of en bloc sales. My proposal is:

    1. enact a new law on en bloc sales;
    2. government to form a stat board something like "Collective Sales & Development Board) CSDB, the equivalent of HDB;
    3. all collective sales to be assessed, approved and supervised by the CSDB with the final Certificate of Collective Sale (CCS) be issued by the STB. This will take away all the wheeling and dealing amongst condo raiders (disguised as Sales Committee Members, marketing agents and housing developers), and make the transactions more transparent.
    4. that estates of less than 30 years (using SERS's guidelines) are not allowed to be en bloc-ed unless certified unfit for occupation by BCA/URA.
    5. sellers not allowed cash, but must be given a unit of similar size (floor area) in the new development with all costs of relocation, temporary housing rentals, etc., paid by the developer similar to SERS. This will protect particularly retirees who would otherwise be forced to downgrade to smaller units after the en bloc sale.
    6. condition 5 would therefore drive away the opportunists buying an estate without the spare GFA, but down-sizing the units to make the money. In other words, the new law should even state that if there is inadequae unused (slack) GFA, the en bloc sale and redevelopment is not allowed unless URA agrees to increase the plot ratio adequately to cover the costs of reconstruction and the standard 10% developers' profit.
    7. in the event no developer is interested in an estate but the physical condition makes redevelopment necessary, CSDB can take over the re-development and return all profits (after deducting its own admin costs) to the owners.
    8. the proposed new law should also make it mandatory for banks to continue servicing any existing mortgage loans as though the estate remains intact and the only change is in the address of the property when the new estate is rebuilt.
    9. "book" sale of the units while under re-construction stage would be allowed in a similar way equivalent to a project under construction and the new owner takes over on TOP.

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    http://straitstimes.asiaone.com/Brea...ry_266799.html

    August 11, 2008 Monday

    En bloc tussles take nasty turn as market cools


    One of the vandalised cars at Laguna Park. The estate's owners are engaged in an acrimonious battle over a collective sale, with vandalism among various tactics to 'persuade' dissenters to sign. -- FILE PHOTO/THE STRAITS TIMES

    NAME calling: check. Anonymous letters: check. Scratched cars and damaged property: check.

    Residents of an East Coast condominium are now entering the next phase of what has become an especially fractious en bloc sale: finger-pointing.

    At a Laguna Park meeting last Saturday, residents against the collective sale squared off against those in favour. They each blamed the other for a recent spate of vandalism which saw cars doused with what was likely to be acid.

    The situation is the latest example of en bloc battles that are bleeding the neighbourliness out of neighbourhoods. As the fever for collective sales cools and profits thin, some insiders say the battles are becoming nastier.

    Property consultant CBRE says a total of 112 sites sold for $12.45 billion last year. So far this year, six sites have been sold for $360.03 million.

    Residents in some estates have seen a surge in pressure tactics, from name-calling and flyers shoved into letter boxes to paint thinner poured on cars.

    But just who is behind the crimes is a matter of much debate.

    En bloc vandals work on the sly and have yet to be caught, but those in the property industry feel that investors are the ones playing dirty.

    Property consultant David Chia said that the crimes are unlikely to have been committed by long-time owners, as they would not want to risk the embarrassment of being found out.

    'This narrows it down to investors who have nothing to lose,' he said.

    Many of these investors bought multiple flats at the height of the en bloc fever last year and are eager to sell them off in the face of a cooling property market.

    But investors such as Mr Simon Teh, 50, disputed the accusations: 'Why should we go and fight and vandalise cars? That doesn't help us get 80 per cent approval for the sale and, worse still, we can get jailed.'

    Mr Patrick Kumar, 53, who has been involved in three collective sales, agreed: 'Violence will just harden a person's sentiment not to sign.'

    As an investor, he said, he was 'more likely to placate the residents'. 'Investors are there for the money, not for the violence,' he explained.

    Instead, he passed the buck to owners living in the condominiums, saying some might be anxious to catch the tail end of the en bloc wave and cash out.

    Another bogeyman cited by unhappy home owners: agents appointed by the sales committee, who usually collect a fee of 0.2 per cent to 1.5 per cent of the property value.

    Veteran 'en blocker' Mr Kumar said agents are the ones who 'rile people up' and keep track of who has signed the collective sale agreement and who has not.

    But Mr Jeremy Lake, CBRE's executive director of investment properties, maintained otherwise.

    He said: 'We will be proactive, but we also know that if we push too far, it would be counter-productive.

    'In fact, we do take appropriate steps to dissipate tension during meetings.'

    Property consultants who deal with en bloc sales say the ugliest cases, like in Laguna Park, are rare.

    More common, said Mr Karamjit Singh, the managing director of Credo Real Estate, are shouting matches during residents' meetings.

    Property firm Savills' director of marketing and business development Ku Swee Yong said: 'When it comes to en blocs, even educated people become idiots.'

    LIM WEI CHEAN & MELISSA SIM

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr funny
    http://straitstimes.asiaone.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_266799.html

    August 11, 2008 Monday

    En bloc tussles take nasty turn as market cools


    One of the vandalised cars at Laguna Park. The estate's owners are engaged in an acrimonious battle over a collective sale, with vandalism among various tactics to 'persuade' dissenters to sign. -- FILE PHOTO/THE STRAITS TIMES

    NAME calling: check. Anonymous letters: check. Scratched cars and damaged property: check.

    Residents of an East Coast condominium are now entering the next phase of what has become an especially fractious en bloc sale: finger-pointing.

    At a Laguna Park meeting last Saturday, residents against the collective sale squared off against those in favour. They each blamed the other for a recent spate of vandalism which saw cars doused with what was likely to be acid.

    The situation is the latest example of en bloc battles that are bleeding the neighbourliness out of neighbourhoods. As the fever for collective sales cools and profits thin, some insiders say the battles are becoming nastier.

    Property consultant CBRE says a total of 112 sites sold for $12.45 billion last year. So far this year, six sites have been sold for $360.03 million.

    Residents in some estates have seen a surge in pressure tactics, from name-calling and flyers shoved into letter boxes to paint thinner poured on cars.

    But just who is behind the crimes is a matter of much debate.

    En bloc vandals work on the sly and have yet to be caught, but those in the property industry feel that investors are the ones playing dirty.

    Property consultant David Chia said that the crimes are unlikely to have been committed by long-time owners, as they would not want to risk the embarrassment of being found out.

    'This narrows it down to investors who have nothing to lose,' he said.

    Many of these investors bought multiple flats at the height of the en bloc fever last year and are eager to sell them off in the face of a cooling property market.

    But investors such as Mr Simon Teh, 50, disputed the accusations: 'Why should we go and fight and vandalise cars? That doesn't help us get 80 per cent approval for the sale and, worse still, we can get jailed.'

    Mr Patrick Kumar, 53, who has been involved in three collective sales, agreed: 'Violence will just harden a person's sentiment not to sign.'

    As an investor, he said, he was 'more likely to placate the residents'. 'Investors are there for the money, not for the violence,' he explained.

    Instead, he passed the buck to owners living in the condominiums, saying some might be anxious to catch the tail end of the en bloc wave and cash out.

    Another bogeyman cited by unhappy home owners: agents appointed by the sales committee, who usually collect a fee of 0.2 per cent to 1.5 per cent of the property value.

    Veteran 'en blocker' Mr Kumar said agents are the ones who 'rile people up' and keep track of who has signed the collective sale agreement and who has not.

    But Mr Jeremy Lake, CBRE's executive director of investment properties, maintained otherwise.

    He said: 'We will be proactive, but we also know that if we push too far, it would be counter-productive.

    'In fact, we do take appropriate steps to dissipate tension during meetings.'

    Property consultants who deal with en bloc sales say the ugliest cases, like in Laguna Park, are rare.

    More common, said Mr Karamjit Singh, the managing director of Credo Real Estate, are shouting matches during residents' meetings.

    Property firm Savills' director of marketing and business development Ku Swee Yong said: 'When it comes to en blocs, even educated people become idiots.'

    LIM WEI CHEAN & MELISSA SIM

    Very sad to read the above story. If the government does not do anything concrete, en blocs in Singapore will become the eastern form of mafia operations where condo raiders buy up some units, forced their way through forming a Sales Committee and use vandalism to force their neighbours to sell collectively.

    Can the reporters and some true blue Singaporeans make enough noise for Parliament to take note, otherwise vandalism may develop into blackmailing, kidnapping and murder to force people to sign the CSA.

    As I said in my earlier email above, the solution is to form a new stat board such as the Private Housing Redevelopment Board (PHRB), the equivalent of HDB to regulate the redevelopment of private estates.

    In this way, condo raiders would become extinct; en bloc sales are only possible if the estate has a slack GFA or the plot ratio been revised, and buildings must be at least 30 years old, like SERS.

    M M Lee, SM and PM must do something to save Singapore, otherwise when the IR starts, more people lose money at the casinos, more en bloc mafias will emerge to raise funds for gambling or pay gambling debts.

    God Bless all the en blockers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by toaler
    money is the root of all evil
    Person in the whole process more evil............................

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