WHEN Cindy Chiang opened the front door of her flat last Tuesday morning, she found two boxes of rotting fruits and vegetables on her doorstep.
It was not the first time the bank officer, who lives with her two younger sisters, had received these unwelcome “gifts.”
Since February last year, boxes and bags containing food items – both fresh and rotten – have been appearing every few weeks outside her seventh-floor flat.
Sometimes, they come with coins in small denominations, amounting to one or two dollars, in paper bags.
These mysterious deliveries, more than 10 in all so far, appear to have been made by middle-aged men.
Two of them were filmed separately making deliveries on the Chiangs’ hidden video camera, once last year and another time this month.
The sisters, all in their 30s, had installed the camera on their front-door grille last year to catch the culprits.
The camera showed them in the act of carrying boxes to the flat and leaving them outside the door.
But the poor picture resolution and equally poor lighting in the corridor made it impossible to see the men’s faces.
Chiang, who bought the five-room Housing Board flat new in 1991, said that the first time she saw food neatly lined up outside her front door last year, she thought it was someone else’s rubbish.
She threw the boxes away in disgust and forgot about the incident.
But three weeks later, when she and her sisters, also bank officers, opened the door to leave for work at 7.30am, another set of boxes had been left in the same place.
Again, she disposed of the items.
When it happened for the third time, in May last year, she made a police report.
It was the first of seven she has filed in over a year.
Each time, the police took down her name and details and referred her to the East Coast Town Council and the HDB, both of which directed her back to the police.
So the sisters took matters into their own hands.
They installed the camera and tried to stay up through the night, but were uncertain when the culprit would strike again.
The food eventually stopped arriving in March this year, at around the beginning of the SARS outbreak. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network