'I just couldn't take it any more'

SINGAPORE - It began as a dispute over potted plants in the common corridor.

But it led to explosive rage when a man smashed his neighbour's two closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, which he said were installed to record his every move along the corridor.

The incident happened two Saturdays ago on March 8, when the 60-year-old man, who gave his name only as Mr Koh, used a hammer to smash his neighbour's CCTV cameras.

The neighbour, who gave his name as Mr Richard, told The New Paper that he has made a police report and submitted the CCTV footage to them.

Mr Koh, a lorry driver, knew that what he did was a crime.

But for him, it was because of an accumulation of frustration that had built up over the last six months.

He said he had lived with the cameras for four months. He had even complained to the town council six times about the invasion of privacy.

He finally decided to take matters into his own hands.

WHEN IT STARTED

It all began last September, when Mr Koh's previous neighbour at Block 137, Yishun Ring Road, moved out after selling his fifth-storey flat.

According to him, the new owner of the three-room flat immediately took issue with potted plants at the corridor.

The row of about 10 plants starts at Mr Koh's flat and extends along the common corridor to outside the windows of Mr Richard's flat.

Another few pots of plants and a bicycle belonging to another neighbour left no space for Mr Richard's own items.

Mr Richard, 36, an optometrist, told TNP: "I believe I'm entitled to my own personal space. If there is no space outside my flat, do I put my pots on another floor instead? That's quite ridiculous, isn't it?"

Upon his request, the other neighbour cleared some of his items to make space. But Mr Koh did not.

Mr Koh argued that the common corridor was for public use and he was not obliged to move his plants for Mr Richard.

Seeing that his neighbour was not being cooperative, Mr Richard made a complaint to the Nee Soon Town Council, which instructed Mr Koh to remove some of his pots, which he did.

Two months later, while his flat was being renovated, Mr Richard got a call from his contractor telling him that one of his windows facing the corridor had been smashed.

"I suspected that it was my neighbour who did it because he was unhappy with the complaint that I had filed against him," said Mr Richard.

He reported the incident to the police.

Mr Koh denied smashing the window, adding: "I already moved my plants back by a metre and there is ample space for his own use, but he will just continue to harass me about invading his personal space.

"I've been living here for 11 years and I only had problems after he moved in."

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