SINGAPORE — The 63-year-old vice president of an infrastructure company, Jimmy Liu Wing Tim, was given a fine of S$26,000 on Thursday (Jan 19) over the “erroneous” clearing of a forested area at Kranji that made the news early last year.
Lim, along with four officers from CPG and the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC), cleared the woodland even though the requirements given by the National Parks Board (NParks) had not yet been fulfilled.
The other three individuals involved in the incident are Tan See Chee, a director of CPG, former JTC deputy director Chong Pui Chih, and Neo Jek Lin, who used to be Chong’s subordinate.
Lim entered a guilty plea to four charges under the Parks and Trees Act and Wildlife Act, with three additional charges considered for his sentencing.
He paid the $26,000 fine in full on Jan 19.
JTC discovered the clearing on Jan 13, 2021, and by the following month, social media posts highlighting a cleared forested area in Kranji went viral.
The news sparked a backlash online after nature enthusiast Brice Li posted photos on Facebook showing the scene before and after the clearing.
The area was earmarked for developing the Agri-Food Innovation Park, which is part of the Sungei Kadut Eco-District, and JTC, which was in charge of the project, hired contracting firm Huationg Global Limited.
However, JTC discovered that Huationg had “erroneously begun clearing some of the specified plots of land” before studies had been completed.
362 trees with girths larger than one meter were cut down in the clearing process.
There are about 47 species of birds within the area.
CPG had been hired as the civil and structural consultant and quantity surveyor, which made it their responsibility to ensure that approvals from relevant authorities were accomplished on time.
Liu served as the Qualified Person Representative and Superintending Officer Representative and answered to his boss, Tan, the Qualified Person and Superintending Officer.
And while the four officers knew that Parks had required additional measures for wildlife, public safety, public health, and ecosystems, they continued to carry out plans as the pandemic had already caused delays.
JTC’s Neo and Chong proposed that the site be cleared even while approvals were still pending, to which Liu and Tan agreed, despite knowing this was against the law.
A S$30,000 fine was slapped on Neo and Chong in November, and the case against Tan is still ongoing. /TISG
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