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  Channel NewsAsia 30 Nov 06
Tree with historical significance pruned illegally
By Wong Mun Wai

SINGAPORE: A tree with historical significance in Asia has been illegally pruned in Singapore. It is estimated to be about 50 to 70 years old. The species was brought to the region from South America, more than 130 years ago.

A resident claims his neighbour ordered the pruning on Jalan Hang Jebat because the 18-metre high tree's leaves had been dirtying his car.

The species is a common sight in Singapore along major roads or expressways and is on a protected heritage list. The tree is commonly called the Rain Tree because the tree's leaves fold before dusk, or when it rains. It was put onto the national heritage list because of its size and majestic beauty.

One upset resident tried to confront a neighbour whom he suspected had ordered the cutting.

Lucas Jodogne said: "I was trying to talk to the crane operator and asking if he could stop for a while so we could at least enquire about these things. But he said he worked for the government so I thought they would know what they were doing."

But Singapore's parks agency and the estate management confirmed neither had ordered the pruning.

Other residents are also upset that this has happened. "I think they could have parked the car somewhere else. There's a big plot of land here for parking and maybe there are better ways of trimming the trees," said Christina Low, another resident.

The parks agency, NParks, has handed the case to the police. - CNA/so

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