HSA re­futes ha­rass­ment claim

The New Paper - - NEWS - AMELIA TENG, THE STRAITS TIMES

The Health Sciences Au­thor­ity (HSA) said in a state­ment on Wed­nes­day that it is aware of an on­line post mak­ing al­le­ga­tions about the ac­tions of its in­ves­ti­ga­tion of­fi­cers.

A Face­book post last Satur­day by a Daniel Tan Boon Huat claimed that of­fi­cers had ha­rassed him and his staff re­gard­ing “some ad­min­is­tra­tive is­sue over our in­ter­nal shop’s trans­fer of tobacco prod­ucts”, used “in­tim­i­da­tion tac­tics” and knocked on his door on a Satur­day night.

In re­sponse, HSA said the ac­cu­sa­tions are false and its of­fi­cers car­ried out their du­ties “pro­fes­sion­ally, with­out any ha­rass­ment or threats made as al­leged”.

With­out nam­ing any­one, HSA said: “The ac­cu­sa­tions were made by an in­di­vid­ual whose tobacco re­tail li­cence was sus­pended be­cause his shop was found sell­ing tobacco to an un­der­age mi­nor.

“This in­di­vid­ual and rel­e­vant par­ties are cur­rently as­sist­ing HSA in in­ves­ti­ga­tions with re­gard to fur­ther vi­o­la­tions of the Tobacco Con­trol of Ad­ver­tise­ments and Sale Act.”

HSA said its of­fi­cer pro­vided the in­di­vid­ual with drinks dur­ing his in­ter­view at the au­thor­ity’s of­fice on Sept 29, as part of as­sist­ing in in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Closed-cir­cuit TV footage records showed that the in­di­vid­ual also freely left the un­locked in­ter­view room sev­eral times to at­tend to per­sonal mat­ters, said HSA.

HSA said its au­tho­rised of­fi­cers vis­ited the rel­e­vant par­ties’ homes last Satur­day even­ing and Sun­day morn­ing be­cause of new ev­i­dence they found dur­ing on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The of­fi­cers per­formed their du­ties pro­fes­sion­ally by knock­ing on the door briefly and left when no one was home, it said.

HSA said it takes a se­ri­ous view of peo­ple mak­ing un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions against its au­tho­rised of­fi­cers.

It as­sured the pub­lic that its of­fi­cers will “con­tinue to du­ti­fully con­duct them­selves pro­fes­sion­ally and as em­pow­ered by the law”.

ateng@sph.com.sg

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