NEA asks Bedok resident to assist in investigations after thermal camera captures smoker outside unit

NEA asks Bedok resident to assist in investigations after thermal camera captures smoker outside unit

NEA letter smoking offence thermal camera
The letter sent to the lessee of the unit.

SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) has asked a Bedok resident to assist in investigations after a thermal camera caught a person smoking outside his unit on multiple occasions.

An NEA letter dated Jun 6 and sent to the lessee of a unit at Block 620, Bedok Reservoir Road said it had video showing "people smoking at the corridor ... and entering/exiting from the unit" on 12 occasions.

The offences took place between Apr 11 and 14 this year, from about 4.30pm to 11.20pm.

"Our investigations revealed that you are the lessee of the said premise," according to the letter seen by CNA.

"You are hereby required to take reasonable steps to provide relevant information of the offence such as the identity and address of the person who was smoking on or about the time of the alleged offence."

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said in September last year that the NEA was exploring "the use of thermal cameras to deter indiscriminate smoking".


In response to queries from CNA, NEA said it had received 13 smoking-related complaints at the block since February 2019.

"Following receipt of feedback from the residents, NEA had distributed educational pamphlets and worked with the town council to engage the residents," it added.

"NEA had also conducted multiple rounds of surveillance at the block, including deployment of a thermal camera."

During this deployment, NEA said a "subject" was seen smoking at the corridor on 12 occasions.

"NEA has commenced investigations, which includes serving the letter to the lessee, and will take appropriate actions once investigations have completed," it stated.

READ: NEA will use cameras to detect illegal smoking - here's how it could work

In the letter, NEA said the lessee had 14 days from the date of the letter to provide information about the offence.

The letter also said that if lessee fails to furnish the information within 14 days, he could be charged under Section 4B of the Smoking (Prohibition in Certain Places) Act.

"If (convicted), you will be liable to a fine not exceeding S$2,000 for a first-time offence."


In its response to CNA, NEA said it has since January conducted about 70 thermal camera deployments in residential areas and other areas that have had persistent feedback on smoking issues.

"The thermal camera enables NEA to further enhance our enforcement operations and capability to detect smoking at prohibited areas," it added.

"These thermal cameras are able to detect objects emitting high heat and can capture images of the smoking offence."

In 2018, NEA issued more than 30,000 tickets for smoking in prohibited areas.

"NEA will continue to take enforcement action against smokers who flout the law," it stated.

Source: CNA/hz(aj)