Why the Bangladeshi worker was fined for plucking tree leaves, explained

Why the Bangladeshi worker was fined for plucking tree leaves, explained

Mothership.SG·2018-01-30 08:05

You might have heard that the National Parks Board (NParks) fined a Bangladeshi worker a hefty S$2,000 for plucking leaves from a tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The unidentified man had been issued a notice of offence in April 2017. 

In the following image that was circulated online, a photo of an AXS machine payment screen with a matching offence number is appended to a picture of the notice:

Obviously, it fanned many a negative sentiment amongst sympathetic Singaporeans, who felt that it was an unforgiving amount.

“Not surprising… lots of these ‘officers’ have no heart and only the intelligence to do what they are programmed to do by their same ‘superior’ beings.”

Comments via All Singapore Stuff’s Facebook post

“Yes, going too far out. Should at least explain to the offender the seriousness of plucking leaves or fruits from the Park as it an offence and should give the FW (foreign worker) a warning. No sympathy at all, just follow by the book typically of some govt servant. Do not use their brain to act accordingly. Very sad.”

Though there were some who felt that it was a necessary deterrent.

“Foreignors [sic] not exempted from the due process. So, the rule really stipulates it and he needs to pay the fine. It is not about being poor. It is about to teach dicipline [sic] and serves as a reminder of the grave consequences.”

Comments via All Singapore Stuff’s Facebook post

“As much as the fine is high, when you come to think of it this is the only way you can keep a country clean, prevent vandalism and protect the environment. If they allow people to do as they please like from their country of origins, law and order cannot be well maintained. See think of it this way, if this person plucked and got away with it, what makes you think he or other friends wouldn’t do the same? This would send a clear message among his peers and word would spread fast and prevent such an offence being committed.”

All this taken into account, however, there is something to be said about the tree the worker plucked the leaves from.

Tree presumed nationally extinct

The tree’s scientific name is Syzygium myrtifolium (Siz-i-gee-um merr-tee-folee-um). It’s also known as Kelat Oil or Red Lip, since chances are most folks won’t be able to pronounce that.

NParks’  describes it as a plant that is native to Singapore even though it was “presumed extinct.”

Now of course, to the layman, it sounds weird to say it’s extinct — the dude did, after all, pluck its leaves.

But to be more precise, they’re plants that can no longer be found to flourish naturally in the wild.

This means the ones in Singapore are preserved and reproduced with the help of human intervention.

They are also available for sale, interestingly, 

You might be surprised to see what it looks like, because chances are you would have seen the red-orange leaves and the shrubby bush-shaped tree before:

Photo by

NParks “may consider an appeal”

In an , NParks said it may take into account the circumstances and relook the fine amount, adding its willingness to consider an appeal for the case.

Channel NewsAsia reported that they will “take mitigating circumstances into consideration when deciding on the composition amount”.

NParks reportedly said it will also contact the Bangladeshi worker to “look further into the case.”

CNA’s report also said that notices of offence state that a fine only needs to be paid when a composition notice is issued.

The notice states the fine amount that needs to be paid, and in the absence of one, the AXS machine automatically generates an amount based on the type of offence keyed in.

In this instance, therefore, the AXS machine had automatically generated the S$2,000 figure (corresponding to the offence of plucking leaves from a tree), instead of it being the actual amount levied on the Bangladeshi worker — if he is even required to pay a fine, that is. 

It’s not clear yet why the worker plucked the leaves from the tree, but we’re sure he knows now not to do so again — neither, of course, should any of us.

Top image via


Read full article on Mothership.SG

Singapore Plants NEA Foreign worker Fine