Singapore: Several school authorities warn parents about kidnapping threat

Parents alarmed by strangers lurking around campus, offering lifts to students

Representational image Pixabay

An international school in Bukit Batok has issued warnings to students about a stranger who offered a lift to one of its students. The warning gains prominence in the light of two similar incidents that have happened in other international schools in Singapore recently.

The first incident happened on 11 January, when teenage United World College (UWC) South-east Asia Dover campus middle-school student was 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, he said he offered a lift as it was raining.

The second case, which happened on 16 January, is more alarming as it involved a female driver. 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.

In the third case, the Headmaster of Dulwich College Nick Magnus communicated the same to the parents in an email, which stated that the incident took place when the student was returning from school, in the vicinity of Farrer Road. He also mentioned that the said incident happened in December 2017.

"The student declined the offer and continued on their journey home, arriving safely," he said, as reported by Channel NewsAsia. The Headmaster also added that they teach their students about "stranger danger" and also how to remain vigilant about any such approach.

The other two incidents were also taken very seriously by the school authorities and they assured that they are taking additional precautionary measures for the safety of their students.

As all of these incidents occurred in broad daylight and in the middle of a crowded school street. Safety measures such as issuing special identification pass to drivers of Tanglin School have also failed to stop these incidents from taking place time and again.

Parents have expressed concern about the safety of their wards after the incidents came to light. 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.

It is assumed that international schools are being targeted as they are believed to have rich students, who can be ideal targets for kidnapping. On the other hand, many Singapore residents believe that the city-state is safer and more secure for children and adults alike than many other places.

This article was first published on January 18, 2018