Thursday September 13, 2012
‘Neighbour from hell’ against whole neighbourhood
By DESIREE TRESA GASPER
JOHOR BARU: When it first started, the “coconut tree war” at a housing estate in Permas Jaya only involved two families.
But three years on with over 100 police reports lodged, the war has now escalated into a full blown feud between one family dubbed the “neighbour from hell” and almost the whole neighbourhood.
Declining to be named or photographed, most of the residents said the only way to solve the long-standing issue was to ask 52-year-old S. Karunakaran and his family to leave.
A neighbour in his 30's said that he has seen the 52-year-old man throw flower pots, stones and sticks into his neighbours' houses, especially late at night.
“He usually reeked of alcohol but we cannot do much because we are so scared that he may hurt us.”
The man said that it was common to see police patrol cars parked outside Karunakaran's house following police reports lodged by neighbours, but he remained a menace to the neighbourhood.
Another neighbour in her 20's said fights would break up between the man or his family members and others in the area on a daily basis.
“He is truly a neighbour from hell. I have even stopped working because of him as I do not want to leave my elderly parents and my children at home,” she said, adding that she had lodged more than six police reports against the man.
“He was charged in court. We showed pictures of his rowdy behaviour but they were not entertained by the court. So he walks free,” she said.
Another neighbour said he did not want to get involved with thugs.
“I have seen that man attacking his neighbours with a parang, shouting at them, throwing flowerpots into their homes,” he said.
The man's original feuding partner, former factory supervisor Rajanthran, 48, remained the only one who dared to speak up against him openly.
“My family had lodged 90 police reports. We are still hopeful that action will be taken against him.”
The war started with the felling of three coconut trees planted in Karunakaran's compound by the Johor Baru City Council three years ago.
Rajanthran had asked for the trees to be chopped as they were leaning towards his house.
Karunakaran, who was said to have regularly held prayers under the trees, blamed Rajathran for them being chopped down.
Permas assemblyman Datuk M.M. Samy was also stumped over how to solve the problem.
“I have tried speaking to both neighbours but since there is now some criminal elements involved, I am leaving it to the police to investigate,” he said while urging the neighbourhood to lodge a collective police report against Karunakaran.
At the height of the tussle, the 52-year-old neighbour and his son were even fined RM12,000 by a magistrate's court for assaulting Rajanthran with a hockey stick.