Yesterday, Hougang MRT station was locked down and shuttered for nearly an hour, reportedly due to a security incident. For everyone else not anywhere near Hougang, we have 10 fast facts for you to keep up to date with the latest… updates.
Here you go.
On 2 April 2017, Sunday, 2.40pm, an unattended bag was discovered in Hougang MRT station, and shortly afterwards, at 2.45pm, the police were alerted. Officers were dispatched quickly, and the station staff were quick to guide commuters away from the station.
2. Police Response
The police response was swift, and the MRT station was closed. From 2:55 p.m., all trains bypassed Hougang station, and commuters were ushered out of the station. As the police investigated and checked the bag, the station was then shuttered at 3:45 p.m.
At 4:00 p.m., station reopened after police determined the bag contained nothing dangerous, only household items. Train service resumed shortly afterwards.
At 4:35 p.m., police arrested a 39-year-old man.
3. Commuters’ Impact
Train service to and from Hougang was temporarily stopped from 2:55 p.m. all the way to 4:00 p.m. In other words, the total downtime was about one hour. During this period, station staff were turning away commuters, and redirecting them to nearby bus services or other train stations.
Though many were inconvenienced, some had stayed and watched, with a mixture of bemusement and curiosity.
The Straits Times filmed short videos during the incident, as below.
5. Man Arrested
At 4:35 p.m., police had identified the owner of the bag, a 39-year-old Chinese man. He was arrested, and escorted into a room in the station for questioning. At 7:30 p.m., 3 hours later, the man was seen leaving the station with the police, handcuffed and looking haggard.
Preliminary investigations discovered that the man had intentionally left his bag behind to run an errand. He was arrested for an offence of Public Nuisance.
6. Positive Public Reactions
Though many members of the public were inconvenienced greatly by the interruption of train service, some were impressed by the swift response by both the station staff and the police. A commuter even said it was better to be safe than sorry, and if the entire train system had to be shut down, so be it.
It is clear that to many Singaporeans, safety still trumps convenience. Seems like the SGSecure movement is working!
7. Negative Public Reactions
However, as with any incident, there are going to be conflicting opinions. Some Singaporeans had expressed their displeasure, be it at the apparent slow speed of police investigations or the train bypass. Some had complained about the police taking too long (from initial discovery at 2:40 p.m. to train service resuming at 4:00 p.m.).
Others had concerns about the safety of trains merely bypassing and not stopped entirely, citing the possibilities of an explosion.
8. MP Reactions
MPs have responded to the incident, praising the actions of the police and the station staff. Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Darryl David said it was better to err on the side of caution. Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Melvin Yong commended the actions of the station staff as being professional, and that public transport workers are important for the safety of commuters, as first responders.
9. Past Incidences
This was not the first time an unattended bag drew police attention. Back in January 2016, two bags were found unattended, one at a bus terminal in Queen Street, and another at Woodlands Checkpoint. Fresh after the sobering news of the Jakarta bombing in the same month, these incidents were understandably taken seriously. Thankfully, they were false alarms as well.
Curiously, the owners of the bags last year were not questioned for hours or detained by the police, and no mass evacuation occurred at all, in stark contrast to the response yesterday. It is entirely possible that as the threat of terror looms darker after the repeated attacks in other countries (recall the recent London attack), increased vigilance is required.
Our lives are not worth any inconvenience, and it is always safer to err on the side of caution. Stay vigilant. It is the only way we can minimise the chances of a terror attack succeeding.
Since you’re here, why not check out Goody Feed’s YouTube videos as well? They’re so Singaporean, I bet you’ll like them!
Featured Image: themalaymailonline.com
This article was first published on Goodyfeed.com