She was given a two-year mandatory treatment order by a District Judge in June for throwing pork at a Malay neighbour in Tampines. But that has not stopped 63-year-old Lee Dji Lin, who suffers from a psychiatric disorder, from harassing Marliah Jonet daily.
Marliah, a 62-year-old widow, has called the police on six occasions this month alone to her ninth floor flat at Blk 247 Tampines Street 21, but the situation has not improved.
Lee, who lives a floor directly below Marliah’s unit, was charged earlier this year on one count of deliberately wounding the religious and racial feelings of her neighbour and another count for harassment. Marliah’s plight was first highlighted by Yahoo News Singapore last year.
Since the court case ended three weeks ago, Marliah said Lee has been verbally abusing her in a mixture of English, Malay and Hokkien, calling her “smelly” and “a Satan who ate her husband and daughter”. Marliah lost her daughter in 2006 to a virus attack, while her husband passed away in 2012 because of a heart attack.
Lee would also shout that Marliah is “bored and whoever wants to have fun (with Marliah) can do it for free”. Yahoo News Singapore visited Marliah on Friday (21 July) and heard the insults intermittently over a five-hour period, starting from 4.50pm.
Eight other neighbours told this reporter that they also heard Lee shouting.
Yao Yu Chiu, a 70-year-old retiree who has lived at the ninth level of the block for 35 years, said that the shouting can be “very loud” and he “cannot take it”.
“For the past two to three weeks, she has been shouting three to four times a day. Sometimes, she will also shout after 12am although it is lesser,” Yao said. “During the day, the duration of her shouting is longer. She can shout for longer than 15 minutes each time.”
Goh, a 73-year-old housewife who wanted to be known only by her surname, said that she put with the shouting because Lee is “mentally ill”.
Other neighbours have also faced harassment
Lee had also terrified one Chinese family who previously lived in the unit opposite hers, according to several neighbours. The family got scared after she destroyed their altar and threw a chopper at the corridor outside their unit a few years ago.
“She took a broomstick and hit their altar until it was destroyed. They were my friends (for a long time)…we were among the first to move into this block. But because of her, they had to move away,” Yao stated.
Another neighbour, who is a property agent, said, “She fought with the (Chinese) neighbour almost everyday. She also once took a chopper and threw it outside the neighbour’s place.” The agent spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of facing trouble from Lee.
“She also threw urine and water from her kitchen, and no one dared to hang out their clothes. When she was away in the IMH (Institute of Mental Health), everyone dared to hang out their clothes.”
A compliance officer, who lives near Lee’s unit, said that when she moved in two years ago, her family enjoyed an amicable relationship with Lee’s family. But things turned sour after Lee saw her speaking to the police, who were conducting an investigation over the pork-throwing incident.
Since then, Lee would pour dirty water at her doorstep and shout at her children. Lee even made a complaint to the Residents’ Committee that the family were illegal tenants, although it was not the case.
She described Lee as a bespectacled, frail-looking woman with short hair and who is about 1.55-metre tall.
About three neighbours said they have made complaints to the Housing Development Board (HDB), but there has been no response from the agency.
One of them, who only wanted to be identified as Teo, said Lee had thrown rubbish down towards her unit on a few occasions.
Yao said, “After many complaints, there has been nothing done to her. I feel this is very unfair. We have been disturbed for too long.”
Police called to Marliah’s flat again
At around 6.30pm on Friday, this reporter heard Lee shouting again and immediately went to her unit to knock on her door. She stopped shouting but did not open her door. There were two CCTVs installed outside Lee’s unit.
At about 8.50pm, Lee resumed her shouting at Marliah, which can be heard by this reporter from the ground floor. Shortly after the reporter went back to Marliah’s flat, three police officers arrived in response to a call made by Marliah.
The officers from Bedok Division explained to Yahoo News Singapore that their purpose was to mediate between Marliah and Lee, as well as to take down statements and submit them to an investigation officer.
When the officers knocked on Lee’s door, she took about a minute before coming to the door. Speaking in Chinese, Lee said that she was “merely singing in her own house” and denied that she was shouting.
“She has no husband and her daughter died,” Lee told the police officers in Chinese. “She’s crazy. She’s always at home and doesn’t go out. She’s weird. You all can’t do this, always come knocking on my door. This is not right. You have to look for her. She’s bored, that’s why she’s always calling for you.”
Lee also claimed that Marliah disturbed her by playing with marbles at her unit early in the morning every day. But Marliah dismissed the claim, saying that she did not have marbles in her house.
The police left about one hour later after taking down a statement from Marliah.
Having been told previously that she could only file a civil suit, Marliah implored the officers to do something about the matter while they recorded her statement.
“This is harassment and I’ve suffered for seven long years. How can anyone take this? It hurts a lot when she brings up my husband and my second daughter. It took me three years of crying to get over her,” Marliah told one of the officers, before bursting into tears.