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    Oct 17, 2016

    Dad says arson suspect's not quite sound

    THE father of the man, who was charged for burning down a wet market at Jurong West Street 41 last week, apologised to stallholders, blaming himself

    for being a "failed parent",

    when he was interviewed by

    Shin Min Daily News.

    The 74-year-old father of the suspect Lim Ying Siang, 41, told the Chinese evening daily that he "has no face to see the affected stallholders again", many of whom he used to visit as his home is close to the wet market.

    "After this incident, I do not know how to greet my neighbours anymore," said senior Lim, who did not want to be named and refused to reveal his current job.

    "Except for going out to work, I will try not to step out of home," he lamented.

    According to Mr Lim, his son was not quite sound in the mind after he fell unconscious for six days more than 10 years ago.

    "Now that he has done this, we should not ask for forgiveness. But we still hope to be forgiven," he pleaded.

    He recalled that last Monday night, his son came home drunk, and he locked the main door

    for fear he would be up to

    no good if he went out.

    "But he lost his temper and insisted on going out. So I opened the door but followed closely behind," said Mr Lim.

    He later took his son home from a coffee shop, which was one of the two that were also burnt down in the fire.

    But the son again sneaked out in the wee hours, and not long after, the fire that consumed the wet market at Block 493 broke out.

    Mr Lim recounted that he visited the accident site that day to inquire what had happened.

    He also found his son, who he said was in a state of daze.

    Mr Lim and his wife were shocked two days later when police informed them that

    the fire might have been

    the work of his son.

    "Since he is already 41, how could I control him?

    "To ensure he won't get into another trouble, it's better not to bail him out," said Mr Lim.

    The son, who is not employed, was charged for arson on Saturday, and could be jailed for life, or imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined, if found guilty.

    Meanwhile, the 51 affected stallholders, who are suffering from income loss since the fire, said they were surprised to learn that the HDB would not waive their rent for the first 10 days

    of this month - that is,

    up to the eve of the fire.

    A stallholder, Ms Hou, thinks it is unreasonable, considering their current situation.

    Mr Chua, 63, who has a share in the tenancy of the wet market and one of the razed coffeeshops, said the HDB told him that the waiver applies only to the

    days after the fire.