Be careful of 'unnecessarily alarming parents', says Shanmugam

Kidnapping bid scares Singapore parents

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam Reuters

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam, while commenting on some media reports, said in a Facebook post on January 22 that Singaporeans need to be careful about spreading untrue stories and "unnecessarily alarming parents."

"Media reports have said that the van occupants in one of the incidents had gotten out try to persuade one of the students to get into the van. That is untrue. The van provides transport services for the school, takes students to and from the school," said Shanmugam.

Though the minister said "there were no kidnap attempts," he also wrote "we should teach our children not to get into any vehicles with strangers,"

Singapore parents were visibly shaken after two alleged incidents of strangers approaching young female students within a week hit headlines.

The first incident happened on 11 January, when teenage United World College (UWC) South-east Asia Dover campus middle-school student was reportedly offered a lift by a van driver, completely a stranger to her. She declined and later filed a police report with her parents. After being questioned by the police, the driver said he offered lift as it was raining.

The second case, which happened on 16 January, is shocked the crowd more as it involved a female driver. According to reports, a female student from Tanglin Trust School in Portsdown Road was approached by two people in a white van when she was walking towards her school from MRT station. Even after she ignored them, the female driver and her companion got out of the van and continued coaxing her, following which she alerted the school management.

Though police confirmed that one of the drivers in two kidnap scares had no ill intentions, parents say it is difficult to believe him as his approach was out of known order.

For the second case, police confirmed that the van was the school bus. When the attendant saw the girl wearing the school uniform, she offered a lift. Authorities also clarified that no one alighted the bus to coax the student.

Related topics : Singapore crime