Bangladeshi Fined $2,000 By AXS Machine For Plucking Leaves From A ‘Nationally Extinct’ Tree
UPDATE 30 Jan: NParks has confirmed that the Bangladeshi worker had the fine rescinded, and was given a warning instead. His employer had appealed against the ticket, and NParks found the damage done to the tree was “minimal”.
The original article continues below.
In Facebook post that recently went viral, an unsuspecting Bangladeshi national was given a Notice of Offence for plucking a few leaves from a syzygium myrtifolium – or Red Lip tree – that was presumed to be “nationally extinct”.
After receiving the notice, the man presumably headed straight for the AXS machine to settle his fine, which is where he found out his fine was a whopping $2,000.
While its unclear if the man actually paid the hefty fine, Channel NewsAsia has since revealed that the fine amount was simply the “default NParks composition amount”.
What is a “default composition amount”, you ask.
Well, we have no idea either.
$2,000 fine is simply the “default”
Netizens were baffled by the sheer amount too — claiming that it was “too much” for a first time offender.
However, NParks has also revealed that the offender was not actually meant to pay the 2 grand at the AXS machine.
Instead, NParks says that the notice of offence isn’t actually the summon for the visitor’s offence. Instead, the notice states that the offender is to wait for a “composition notice”, which will confirm the amount that needs to be paid. Until the composition notice is issued, the composition amount – or amount fined – is undecided.
According to a statement by NParks, decision of the composition amount will depend on other factors, and the visitor is supposed to be contacted for investigation.
Instead of waiting however, the Bangladeshi jumped the gun, and went straight to settle his fine.
Apparently, if there was no fine amount was already set by an authority, AXS machines are programmed to automatically generate an amount based on the type of offence that was keyed in. Which is why a figure of $2,000 was decided.
This was a scare to the Bangladeshi and – quite frankly – to many Singaporeans as well.
Whether the huge fine have already been paid is unknown. Regardless, NEA has been attempting to reach him.
Tree is ‘nationally extinct’
Perhaps the hefty fine is due to the fact that the syzygium myrtifolium is presumed “nationally extinct”.
One can only wonder how can you pluck leaves from a tree that supposedly doesn’t exist.
But if the tree is indeed rather hard to find in Singapore, we can expect the ensuing fine to be rather harsh.
NEA may consider an appeal on the case
Somehow, this notice of offence was issued in April 2017, at least 8 months before the story got viral.
Despite this odd delay, Channel NewsAsia has also mentioned that NEA may consider an appeal, taking into consideration of severity of the case.
Great news for the visitor, provided the news gets to them. Let’s just hope it does.
However, to say if he could get away with a simple warning seems impossible too, considering that Singapore does firmly enforce her laws — including the ones governing trees.
Article 216 (III) of Parks and Trees Act
Yet, anything less than the $2,000 fine initially set by the unjust AXS machine would still be a huge relief for the Bangladeshi national.