Parking summons sparks towing row
Towing service boss says LTA officer gave him parking summons while he was doing his job
He parked his towing van by the side of the road to haul a motorcycle that had broken down, but was issued a ticket by a Land Transport Authority officer.
Bewildered, the towing van driver posted on Facebook about the incident. It went viral.
Though he got his summons quashed, he might still be in trouble because the officer has apparently filed a police report against him.
On July 7, Mr Mohammed Faizal Mahmud, 32, the owner of Bike Rescue and Towing Services, stopped his towing van on East Coast Road near a bus stop at Siglap Centre.
He parked it at the side of a two-lane road on a yellow zigzag line and went to retrieve a motorcycle from a nearby alley, barely 20m away.
But when he returned, he was surprised to find an LTA officer standing in front of his van.
Mr Faizal recounted: "I asked him what was going on and he asked me in turn what I was doing.
"My blinkers were on and I had the ramp down behind my van. I told him that I was obviously in the process of towing a vehicle."
But the officer issued him a parking offence ticket anyway before riding off.
Mr Faizal said he was left puzzled and frustrated by the incident.
"This is the first time such a thing has happened to me in my six years of towing vehicles," he told The New Paper.
"I had parked there for barely five minutes to tow a vehicle, and in turn I was issued a ticket?
"How else do you expect me to carry out my job?"
After going home, a frustrated Mr Faizal went on Facebook to rant about the incident.
His post, which named the officer, went viral and has been shared over 3,300 times and received about 380 "likes" as of last night.
It has also sparked a witch hunt for the officer, whose details were shared online.
Mr Faizal added: "People have also shared with me his Facebook account and sent me photos of him."
He said one netizen claimed this was the same officer who once issued a ticket to a funeral bus.
In 2013, TNP reported that a funeral bus driver was issued a ticket at Serangoon while waiting for the funeral party.
LTA declined to confirm if it was the same officer involved.
Mr Faizal contacted the officer on Facebook, telling him he would soon be famous all over Singapore.
TNP understands that the officer has made a police report against Mr Faizal, but it is not known what the nature of the report is.
TNP tried to contact the officer, but did not receive a response from him.
An LTA spokesman said the ticket was issued as Mr Faizal's towing vehicle had violated parking rules.
The spokesman said: "The driver had parked at a stretch of East Coast Road with a single zigzag line.
"Parking there is prohibited at all times."
He added that before issuing the summons, the LTA officer had approached the driver to advise him to park at the adjacent service road, where parking is allowed.
LTA said the driver continued to park illegally, causing obstruction to other vehicles.
The spokesman added: "Hence, our officer had to issue a notice of parking offence in accordance with our parking rules."
LTA said that while it understood the tow truck might need to stop to allow the loading of the broken-down motorcycle, this would have to be done appropriately without violating parking rules and causing traffic obstruction or road safety problems.
But Mr Faizal maintained that he could not park at the adjacent service road as it was too narrow.
He explained: "It was a one-way road with a single lane. If I had parked there, I would have clogged up traffic trying to go through.
"It just doesn't make sense to fine me for parking there when I was thinking of the other drivers."
He appealed to the LTA regarding the ticket and was informed on Wednesday that it was successful.
But Mr Faizal said it was not about the money or demerit points, and he hopes that exceptions can be made for towing vehicles.
He said: "Exceptions should be given to towing vehicles. We're just doing our job."