Rifle Range Road to get animal detection system in 2022
It complements other efforts to provide safe connectivity for wildlife, such as canopy bridges and culverts
A roadway animal detection system will be developed for Rifle Range Road from the first half of next year, making it the second road in Singapore - after Old Upper Thomson Road - to have one.
Making the announcement yesterday, National Development Minister Desmond Lee said the new system will allow the authorities to test it in different road conditions - Old Upper Thomson is a one-way road, while Rifle Range Road is two-way.
Mr Lee also announced two studies on the public's perception of wildlife to begin next year, and gave an update on a campaign by the Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore) to stop people from feeding monkeys.
He was speaking at a virtual dialogue organised by the institute, where he conversed with Dr Jane Goodall about topics such as nature and youth. The session was moderated by Nature Society (Singapore) president, Dr Shawn Lum.
Dr Goodall is a world-famous primatologist known for her work on chimpanzees in Tanzania, where she immersed herself in their habitat, observing them closely.
Highlighting Singapore's science-based approach to wildlife management, Mr Lee said the National Parks Board (NParks) will broaden its species recovery efforts, with 160 species set to come under such efforts by 2030. That is up from 120 today.
NParks said the new animal detection system will be deployed at Rifle Range Road as animals have been seen crossing between two forested areas - Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and the upcoming Rifle Range Nature Park.
It complements other NParks efforts to provide safe connectivity for wildlife in Rifle Range Road, such as canopy rope bridges and culverts.
Plans for the new system follow a similar initiative by NParks and the Land Transport Authority in October 2019.
Then, the animal detection system was deployed in Old Upper Thomson Road to assess the reliability of the system in detecting wildlife movements and alerting oncoming road users to reduce the speed of their vehicles.
The system works by using closed-circuit television cameras equipped with analytics technology to detect animals and reduce the odds of false triggers.
Upon animal detection, LED signs are lit to alert motorists to the animals' presence.
NParks said the system in Old Upper Thomson Road has shown an accuracy rate of close to 100 per cent and that a number of motorists have been observed slowing down upon seeing the lighted sign.
As for the two studies, Mr Lee said they will guide the development of strategies that manage human-wildlife encounters.
The first, a survey by the institute, will collate public sentiments towards primates in Singapore and macaque management measures, the minister said. This survey will begin early next year and its results will guide the second broader and more in-depth study by NParks and the Singapore University of Technology and Design's Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities.
Duo get SCDF award for saving woman from accident
He was driving in an underpass on the Seletar Expressway (SLE) when a car in the right lane beside him skidded and crashed into the wall, bouncing off it and narrowly missing his car before it came to a stop in the left lane.
Mr Johnson Chia Yong Lee stopped to help the driver as the stalled car started to emit smoke. The 33-year-old female driver was unconscious when he got to the car door but she came to quickly, and Mr Chia helped her out of the car.
He flagged down Mr Azlee Abdul Shukor's van, and Mr Azlee offered to take the woman to safety. As soon as they drove off, the smouldering car burst into flames.
Yesterday, Mr Chia and Mr Azlee received the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) Community Lifesaver Award for their displays of courage that Nov 2 afternoon.
Speaking to The Straits Times at the headquarters of the 3rd SCDF Division in Yishun, Mr Chia, 28, who works in events production, said: "I was just worried something worse was going to happen to her."
Recalling the incident, which occurred at about 4.45pm, he said the car window had shattered, which allowed him to reach in and unlock the door.
The woman, who was not named, had suffered contusions and bruises, and he guided her to his car. Mr Chia then tried to flag down a vehicle but struggled to get any attention. "It was peak hour and there were many cars... but none of them stopped."
Eventually, Mr Azlee, 48, who works for a logistics company, stopped his van. By that time, flames were seen coming out of the engine of the woman's car and, fearing the worst, he offered to drive the woman out of the tunnel.
Mr Azlee said that as soon as they drove off, he heard a loud "boom" as the car burst into flames, and black smoke engulfed the tunnel.
He noticed that the woman was shaking and seemed to be in shock. He offered to drive her to the hospital, but she declined.
Both Mr Chia and Mr Azlee stopped their vehicles as soon as they got out of the tunnel, and Mr Chia called the SCDF.
The SCDF arrived within five to six minutes and took the woman to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. Firefighters extinguished the fire with a compressed air foam jet.
Referring to the award, Mr Azlee said: "We are not brave people, just people who care and want to help those in need."
Recalcitrant sex offender jailed again for molesting underage girl
A recalcitrant offender, who has been in and out of jail for sex offences against minors, is back behind bars after he molested an underage girl earlier this year.
Xavier Lee Wei Jie, now 30, was yesterday sentenced to 10 months' jail after he pleaded guilty to one count of outrage of modesty involving a 14-year-old student on July 30.
In 2015, the Singaporean man was sentenced to a year's jail for having sex with a 12-year-old girl. He reoffended after his release and was jailed again in 2019.
Lee had met his latest victim through one of her friends and was aware of the girls' ages.
He started communicating with the victim through Instagram and asked her to meet him at a playground near Block 283 Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 on July 30.
The victim and her friend, also 14, were in school uniforms when they met him there at around 4pm that day.
They sat at the playground with Lee on the victim's right.
He pinched the victim's cheeks and touched her chin before telling her that she would soon get raped.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kathy Chu said: "The victim felt uncomfortable with this statement as she was aware of the accused's criminal antecedents..."
Undeterred, Lee brushed his hand against the victim's chest and told her to perform sexual acts on him. He also asked the girl to either follow him home or to a nearby staircase.
Court documents did not say what the girl's friend was doing at the time. The victim refused and the trio left the playground at around 5pm that day.
The girl told her mother about her ordeal before filing a police report the next day.
Yesterday, DPP Chu urged the court to sentence Lee to between eight and 10 months' jail, stressing that he has a history of comm`itting sexual offences against minors.
Lee, who was unrepresented, pleaded for leniency and said he was remorseful.
For molestation, an offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined or caned. - THE STRAITS TIMES