Kim San Leng Food Centre in Bishan to be suspended over rat infestation

Justin Ong Channel NewsAsia 17 Jan 17;

SINGAPORE: Operations at Kim San Leng Food Centre, a popular coffee shop located next to the Bishan bus interchange, will be suspended for a day on Friday (Jan 20) for failing to keep the premises free from rats.

The food centre at Bishan Street 13 accumulated 12 demerit points for rat infestations and another four demerit points for failing to deposit refuse in a bin lined with a plastic bag - all within a 12-month period, according to a suspension notice on the National Environment Agency's (NEA) website posted on Monday.

The food centre's operator has also been fined S$1,100 for the offences.

According to NEA, operators of coffee shops, food courts and canteens that accumulate 12 or more demerit points within 12 months may have their licences suspended for between one and three days as a result of their offences, depending on their past records. All food stalls within the premises will also have to stop operations for the same period of time.

NEA also urged members of the public to avoid patronising food establishments that practise poor hygiene practices, and to contact the agency at 1800-225 5632 if they come across such outlets.


When Channel NewsAsia visited Kim San Leng on Tuesday at lunchtime, the coffee shop was packed with customers and there were more waiting for seats. No rats were spotted and refuse bins wheeled around by the cleaners were lined with plastic bags.

All 10 stallholders said they had been instructed to close on Friday but no reason was given to them. All expressed confidence in their hygiene standards - drinks stall helper Ah Mei stated that she had never seen rats during her daytime shift.

The stallholders were also nonchalant about having to stop business for a day.

Workers at the popular Ming Ji Chicken Rice stall, who did not want to be named, said they believed the one-day closure was for cleaning. Some also said they would welcome a few more days of rest.

"Closing for one day is no big deal, in fact it's good - now I can go Chinese New Year shopping," said Sherry Yap, 40, who mans a snacks stall.

Most customers who were having their lunch when approached said they did not find Kim San Leng any dirtier than other coffee shops in Singapore.

Mr Lim, 27, a data analyst who works nearby, said the suspension would not prevent him from eating there again. Bishan resident Nelson Gan said the same. "I'm not surprised there are rats here ... Rats are everywhere in Singapore," said the 24-year-old student.

Fellow Bishan resident and retiree Chan Mui agreed. "Kim San Leng doesn't look very dirty to me," said the 76-year-old in Mandarin. "So what if there are rats? Rats also need to eat."

But some, like public relations professional Darren Ng, said the one-day closure was enough to put him off from ever returning to Kim San Leng. "I'm particular about the food I eat and hygiene standards," said the 31-year-old, who lives nearby. "How are they going to fix the rat problem in just one day?"

- CNA/dl

Oh, rats: Bishan's Kim San Leng Food Centre fined S$1,100 and suspended for a day
Today Online 18 Jan 17;

SINGAPORE — Rats on its premises and other hygiene problems have landed the popular Kim San Leng Food Centre in Bishan a one-day suspension, so that it can clean up the premises.

A rat trap seen at the back of Kim San Leng Food Centre in Bishan, Block 511 Bishan Street 13, taken on Jan 17, 2017. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

The centre, which has 10 stallholders, was also handed a S$1,100 fine. The closure will take place this Friday (Jan 20).

According to notices posted on its website, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has issued suspension notices to four eateries this year so far under the Points Demerit System for operators, including the Kim San Leng outlet at Bishan Street 13.

Two others involve pest infestations: Rats at an eating house at Block 511, Bishan Street 11, and cockroaches at a food stall at Block 350, Ubi Avenue 1.

The fourth was a two-week suspension for a food shop at Westlink Techpark at 123 Tuas View Walk 1, for failing to register its assistants.

From 2014 to last year, the NEA has sent out 319 licence suspension notices to food stalls, food shops and eating houses.

Kim San Leng group has more than 30 coffee shops in Singapore. In its suspension notice, which was published on Monday, the NEA said the eating house had chalked up 16 demerit points over the past year under the Points Demerit System.

It received 12 demerit points for two offences of failing to keep its premises free of rat infestation, and another four points for an offence of failing to deposit refuse in a bin lined with a plastic bag.

The NEA said main operators of coffee shops, food courts and canteens that accumulate 12 or more demerit points in a year may have their licences suspended for one, two or three days, depending on their previous records. All food stalls within the premises will also have to close for the same period.

Food handlers working in the suspended premises would also be required to attend and pass the Basic Food Hygiene Course again, before they can resume work.

It did not say why Kim San Leng did not have to close immediately.

Some diners TODAY interviewed on Tuesday said they have seen rats at the eatery but appeared unfazed by the news.

Mr Tng Chee Wei, 42, an airline crew member who comes to the coffee shop every other day, said he has seen rats at the premise occasionally.

Another diner who gave her name as Veronica, 50, said she eats there six days a week, adding that she has seen rats running around in the vicinity. “We complained to the HDB (Housing and Development Board). They’ve brought pest control to come, and it has gotten much better,” said the cleaning assistant.

But a worker at one of the stalls at Kim San Leng, who did not want to be named, said there are no rats at his stall and no hygiene issues. “We clean up everything, every night,” he said, adding that he was told that the closure on Friday was for cleaning before Chinese New Year.

Ms Sylvia Thong, who works in marketing, said that she has not spotted any rats. But the 27-year-old felt the place could be cleaner. “You can even smell the (food-waste) push carts and the table is obviously not clean even though they just cleaned it,” the 27-year-old said.

Rat infestation earns eatery suspension, fine
Kimberly Lim, The New Paper AsiaOne 18 Jan 17;

In 43 visits spanning nine months, Aardwolf Pestkare Singapore, a pest control company hired by Kim San Leng Food Centre, a popular coffee shop in Bishan Street 13, caught 44 rats on the premises.

But the problem persisted.

And after accumulating 12 demerit points for failing to keep the premises free from rats, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said it will suspend the coffee shop's licence for a day on Friday.

The coffee shop has 10 food stalls and one drink stall.

The place will be thoroughly cleaned on that day.

Apart from rat infestation, it also accumulated four more demerit points for failure to deposit refuse into refuse bins lined with plastic bags.

Mr Patrick Chong, 56, managing director of Aardwolf Pestkare Singapore, told The New Paper: "We intensified our visits to the hawker centre from March to June and September to December last year. If there are rats, we will keep going down.

"Now the situation is under control. We caught only one rat last month."

In May last year, active rodent burrows found in the bushes outside the coffee shop were destroyed, he said.

Mr Alfred Hoon, 34, manager of Kim San Leng Food Centre, told The New Paper: "We will lose $100,000 from closing the place to allow the clean-up to take place.

"We can try to minimise the number of rats in the area, but it cannot be completely solved. I don't think the clean-up will do much to resolve the problem."


He explained that as the coffee shop is in an open area, rats can still enter from the back and the side.

Using nets in front of the shops also doesn't help, he said.

A vendor from Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee, who did not wish to be named, said: "We have no choice but to close for a day, but it is not really a big deal to us."

Another vendor from Ming Ji Chicken Rice, who also did not wish to be named, said that the shutdown would give them a day off.

When TNP visited the hawker centre yesterday during lunch time, it was bustling with customers. There were several pigeons but no rats.

Customers told TNP that they had not seen any rats on the premises before.

Miss Amanda Low, 18, who works at Junction 8, said: "I come to the hawker centre thrice a week just for the chicken rice. I would not stop coming here just because of the rat infestation."

An employee from SKP, a shop which sells partyware, food packaging and stationery, who also did not wish to be named, said: "There will be rats everywhere in Singapore, but I don't think the problem here is serious."

The NEA released a statement on its website stating that the main operator has accumulated 16 demerit points over the last 12 months and will be fined a total of $1,100.

It added: "NEA takes a serious view of these offences and would like to remind food operators to observe good food and personal hygiene practices at all times and to engage only registered food handlers."

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