Young girl kept in wet market stall for 11 months – why did no one report?


The police are currently investigating a concerning case involving a teenager who was found living in a wet market stall for almost a year. The stall, located at the Circuit Road Market and Food Centre, measured around two by three metres and was rented by the girl’s father.

According to stall owners, the girl, who barely spoke and only gestured, had been living in the stall with her father. She reportedly refused to leave the stall, even to use the toilet, and instead relieved herself in pails inside the cramped space.

Upon conducting checks at the market in early April, National Environment Agency (NEA) officers noticed the girl’s presence and raised the alarm. The police were subsequently called for assistance on April 4 at Block 80 Circuit Road, the address of the market.

It has been revealed that both the girl and her father are Singapore permanent residents. Currently, a 63-year-old man, believed to be the father, is assisting with investigations into ill-treatment of a child or young person by neglect under the Children and Young Persons Act. Those convicted of this offense can face a jail term of up to eight years, a fine of up to $8,000, or both.

The investigation is ongoing.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) spokesman stated that NEA alerted the ministry’s Child Protective Service (CPS) of the case on April 3, according to The Straits Times report.

“CPS arranged for the child to be admitted to a hospital for medical assessment, and is looking into alternative care arrangements for the child after her discharge to ensure her safety and well-being”, the spokesperson added.


MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling, who represents the constituency where the wet market is located, shared with ST on April 19 that MSF had informed her that the girl had been living in the stall for 11 months.

Ms. Tin expressed her shock upon learning about the case, she said: “I regularly visit this market and there was nothing unusual that I had noticed. In fact, I had just visited the market stalls during the Chinese New Year period.

“I am really concerned because the girl is so young. So, I have been checking in with MSF to get updates and to check on how she is doing.”

The stall owners reported that the three units rented by the girl’s father were closed when Straits Times reporter visited the market on April 19. Inside one of the units were foldable mattresses, two soft toys, and a fan.

According to stall owners, these units have been closed since NEA conducted checks approximately three weeks ago, the report added.


A 70-year-old man was found dead in his Bukit Merah HDB flat after a neighbour noticed a pungent smell emanating from his unit. The police were alerted to a case of unnatural death at Block 121 Bukit Merah View at 3.28pm on Thursday, according to AsiaOne.

The man was found lying motionless and pronounced dead at the scene.

When reporters visited the ninth floor of the block, a foul stench lingered in the corridor.

Neighbours described the deceased as a kind person who had a good relationship with them. He had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar, and occasionally visited the hospital for medical check-ups.

Other neighbours mentioned smelling something rotting but did not think much of it. The man had not been seen for several days, and it is believed he had died a few days before being discovered.

Preliminary investigations by the police do not suspect foul play, but investigations are ongoing.


In the case of the teenager living in the wet market stall, it is concerning to think that she was in such a dire situation for almost a year without anyone raising the alarm. Despite the stall owners noticing her presence and unusual behavior, it took the intervention of NEA officers to bring the matter to light. One cannot help but wonder if more could have been done earlier to ensure the girl’s safety and well-being.

Similarly, in the case of the elderly man found dead in his flat, it is troubling to hear that neighbors noticed a foul smell coming from his unit but did not think much of it. This lack of awareness or concern for a fellow human being is disheartening, especially considering the man had a good relationship with his neighbors and was known to have health issues.

These cases prompt us to reflect on our societal values and the importance of looking out for one another. It begs the question – are we becoming desensitized to the suffering of those around us? Are we too busy or preoccupied to notice when someone is in need of help?

It is easy to point fingers at others, whether it be the girl’s father, the MP representing the constituency, or the neighbors who failed to report the foul smell. However, at the end of the day, we are all part of the same community and share a collective responsibility to care for one another.

Let these tragic incidents serve as a reminder to be more vigilant and compassionate towards those around us. If something seems amiss, do not hesitate to reach out for help or report your concerns. It is only through coming together and looking out for one another that we can build a more caring and supportive society.

Images via ST & SMDN

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