If you were in Boon Lay MRT Station yesterday evening, you might have been turned away from Exit C.
In case you live in the east, and the west of Singapore is almost like on another planet, here are some facts: Boon Lay MRT Station is one of the busiest and most crowded MRT stations in the west.
Just beside the station is Jurong Point, a popular mall for westies due to its gigantic size and thematic styles (there’s even a “Hong Kong Street” within the shopping centre).
Exit C leads directly to the mall, which obviously is one of the more crowded exits.
So, what happened yesterday?
First Headline: Suspicious Item
At around 6:00 p.m. yesterday, various news outlets reported a closure at Boon Lay MRT Station Exit C, with armed police officers scouting the area. According to the police, they had responded to a report of a suspicious item at around 4:33 p.m. and therefore closed the exit for security purpose.
By 6:09 p.m., the exit is open for public again.
Turns out it’s not just about a suspicious item. Read on.
Area That is Being Cordoned Off
If you frequent Boon Lay MRT Station, you’d have known about the row of shops that’s just directly below the MRT Station.
According to media reports, the area that’s cordoned off is in front of these shops, primarily ValueMax and Mr Bean.
Onlookers were surrounding the area, hoping to catch a glimpse of what’s going on.
— Noel Sebastian (@noelsebastian13) July 28, 2018
Shop Staff Around the Area told to Leave The Area
According to Today, the staff in the nearby shops were told to leave their shops as the police conducted their investigations at around 5:00 p.m., and were only allowed to go back in at 6:00 p.m. (when the area is deemed to be safe).
Staff from Mr Bean and Two Wheels Good, both shops that were nearer to ValueMax, were only allowed back in the shop at 7:50 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Two Wheels Good decided to just close for the day at around 5:00 p.m.
Train Operations Not Affected
While the exit was closed, the trains continued to operate normally. However, someone told The Straits Times that a train just skipped Boon Lay MRT Station and went directly to Joo Koon, though that’s not verified.
It’s a robbery
Later, at about 10:31 p.m., the police released a statement on what actually went on earlier that day.
A man had tried to rob a pawnshop, presumably ValueMax, with a knife and a replica gun. It somehow failed and the man threatened to blow up the pawnshop, claiming that he had an explosive object.
He then threw the object into the shop and fled.
The staff immediately tossed the object out of the shop and called the police. That explained why the area outside the shop was cordoned off.
The police then investigated and found that it was a ruse; the object had only contained some “electrical components”.
During the whole incident, no one was injured.
Gotta give kudos to the staff and the police for handling it so well without any casualty.
The Police Released an Image of the Suspect to Appeal for Information
The manhunt for the robber is still ongoing, as the police released an image of the robber. According to the police, he is “about 1.75m, was last seen wearing a pink turban, blue jacket and long brown pants.”. Lest you’ve forgotten, this happened around 4:30 p.m. yesterday (28 July 2018).
Anyone with information can contact the police at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
CCTV Footage of the Robber Also Released
In addition to the image, a CCTV footage of the robber is also posted in Singapore Police Force’s Facebook Page:
As usual, the public is advised to contact the police if they have any information pertaining to the case.
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