Punggol Waterway Terraces alleged roof collapse (2016)

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Origins of online hoax[edit | edit source]

The photograph of Punggol Waterway Terraces that had gone viral, showing a supposedly collapsed roof. Photo from A.S.S.

On 11 November 2016, a post surfaced on alternative news site All Singapore Stuff claiming that the roof of Punggol Waterway Terraces, a Housing Development Board (HDB) residential development, had collapsed.


The contributor of the post was user Bhagonwali, who attached a photograph of the “roof collapse” with the following caption: “This just happened. The top floors of Punggol Waterway Terraces collapsed! Previous (sic), the owners of the Built-to-Order (BTO) flats had taken to the Internet to voice their unhappiness over the poor workmanship of their flats".[1] The post was taken down from the website 20 minutes after it was first posted.[2]


In response to the circulating image, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) sent a fire engine and Red Rhino vehicle to survey the area at around 3.30pm on the same day.[3] It was also reported that the SCDF had not received any distress calls about the incident.[4]

Confirmation of fake news[edit | edit source]

The photograph posted by HDB on their Facebook page. Taken by a Punggol Waterway Terraces resident, the photo discredits the claim that the roof had collapsed. Photo credit to HDB.

Housing & Development Board (HDB)[edit | edit source]

At roughly 5.40pm of 11 November 2016, The Housing & Development Board (HDB) uploaded a post on their Facebook page confirming that the photograph circulated online was a hoax (HDB Facebook post). HDB uploaded another photograph taken by a resident at 5.00pm on the same day to prove that the development’s roof had not collapsed despite the online claims. In a comment responding to a concerned netizen, HDB explained that they have since informed the Singapore Police Force (SPF) about the false online claims.[5]


According to a report by The Straits Times, HDB would be filing a police report over the matter. The Straits Times also contacted Tiong Seng Group, the developer of Punggol Waterway Terraces, who verified that the photograph was a hoax.[6]

Optical illusion[edit | edit source]

Local mandarin newspaper Lianhe Zaobao also confirmed that the claims of the roof collapse were false. Based on the findings of the photographer that they had sent down, it was concluded that the “roof collapse” was actually an optical illusion due to the building's architecture.[7] When Punggol Waterway Terraces is viewed from a certain angle, it seems as though part of the roof had collapsed.

All Singapore Stuff (A.S.S.) apology[edit | edit source]

The whole matter of the Punggol Waterway Terraces roof collapse was resolved in the span of a day. At 11.36pm, All Singapore Stuff issued an official apology for publishing the article containing the false claim. They stated that they “had no intention to cause any alarm to the public” and asserted that they would take action to ensure "responsible reporting of the news for the future”.[8]

References / Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. “Report of Punggol Waterway Terraces roof collapse a 'hoax': HDB''. Channel NewsAsia. November 11, 2016. Accessed on 26 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/report-of-punggol-waterway-terraces-roof-collapse-a-hoax-hdb-7714182
  2. Farhan. “APOLOGY: HOAX NEWS ON PUNGGOL WATERWAY ROOF COLLAPSE''. All Singapore Stuff. November 11, 2016. Accessed on 26 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.allsingaporestuff.com/article/apology-hoax-news-punggol-waterway-roof-collapse
  3. Ng, Charmaine. “HDB files police report over Punggol Waterway Terraces photo hoax”. The Straits Times. November 11, 2016. Accessed on 26 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/hdb-files-police-report-over-punggol-waterway-terraces-photo-hoax  
  4. Ng, Charmaine. “HDB files police report over Punggol Waterway Terraces photo hoax”. The Straits Times. November 11, 2016. Accessed on 26 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/hdb-files-police-report-over-punggol-waterway-terraces-photo-hoax   
  5. Accessed on 26 March 2019. Retrieved from Housing & Development Board’s Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/SingaporeHDB/posts/1488249391201942:0
  6. Ng, Charmaine. “HDB files police report over Punggol Waterway Terraces photo hoax”. The Straits Times. November 11, 2016. Accessed on 26 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/hdb-files-police-report-over-punggol-waterway-terraces-photo-hoax
  7. Li, Limin. “水滨台组屋屋顶坍塌?原是虚惊一场”. Lianhe Zaobao. November 11, 2016. Accessed on 26 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.zaobao.com.sg/znews/singapore/story20161111-689044
  8. Farhan. “APOLOGY: HOAX NEWS ON PUNGGOL WATERWAY ROOF COLLAPSE''. All Singapore Stuff. November 11, 2016. Accessed on 26 March 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.allsingaporestuff.com/article/apology-hoax-news-punggol-waterway-roof-collapse