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Home > Horror News > Local Horror News > Ghost Workers At Cemetery
Ghost Workers At Cemetery
By: RSS/News Feeds

Caught in the act
Shadowy grave cleaners spirit away contractors’ tools and steal their business in the dead of night
By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

October 14, 2006

THEY hover around the dead and become active late at night.
Wherever they are, there will be lights.

No, they are not ghosts, but illegal graveyard contractors.

And they are digging into the income of legitimate ones such as Mr Iskandar Dzulkhairi.

The 33-year-old, who renovates and cleans graves at the Choa Chu Kang Muslim cemetery, used to make a few thousand dollars more during the month of Ramadan every year.

A legitimate contractor gets up to $200 for each grave he works on.

In the weeks before Ramadan, Mr Iskandar and his team of workers renovate at least 30 graves, taking about three days to renovate each one.

Like him, other graveyard contractors say they are losing business to fly-by-night grave cleaners.

Another contractor, Mr Mohamed, 49, who has been in the business for almost 30 years, said: ‘This place has many hantu (ghosts). They’re the human kind who steal.’

The workers, some of whom are believed to be illegal immigrants, hover around the cemetery during the fasting month and solicit families visiting the cemetery.

There is often a rush to spruce up graves before families pay their respects on Hari Raya Puasa morning.

These illegal workers exploit this by offering services at cheaper prices.

Said Mr Mohamed: ‘Sometimes the illegal workers charge only 60 to 70 per cent of the standard price.’

The standard price is about $1,000, depending on customers’ preferences.

‘This is not fair to those who follow the law and work hard,’ he said.

EVEN SAND STOLEN

Some contractors also accuse them of stealing their equipment and building materials, too.

Mr Iskandar from Singapore Muslim Casket said: ‘Every year we take a gamble when we place our supplies by the road side at the cemetery.

‘It’s not as though we can’t lock away our supplies in a shed.

‘Nobody does this because it’s inconvenient to move them about every time we work on graves.

‘Our suppliers usually drop-off the sand and cement at the road side closest to the grave we’re renovating.’

Mr Iskandar added: ‘It’s common to lose tools, sand and ceramic tiles to the freelancers. This usually happens at night when we go home. We don’t normally work at night.

‘The illegal workers mostly work at night because it’s easier for them to disappear into the darkness if the authorities come.’

On Sunday, Mr Mohamed’s partner found 40 concrete blocks, eight bags of soil and water missing from his site.

Two days later he made a police report. He had also written to his MP about the problem.

Contractors claim the illegal workers are from Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar. Those from Malaysia enter Singapore legally, but work at the cemetery without a permit.

Mr Iskandar claimed as many as 20 foreigners work at the cemetery, with some making use of a nearby mosque and forest to sleep.

Last week, The New Paper observed the cemetery over four nights.

As early as 8pm, flourescent lights dotted parts of the haze-filled cemetery.

The sound of generators and voices could be heard from the graves being renovated by workers.

Two workers at one grave dropped their tools and fled when this reporter approached them. They didn’t even pause to switch off the lights.

The lights of the nighttime grave cleaners can clearly be seen from a distance, but get too close and they switch off and disappear into the darkness. — ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

Others, who spoke a foreign language, were alert. They would stop work when dogs barked in the distance.

On other nights when The New Paper visited in a car with the headlights on, the flourescent lights at the cemetery went off.

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