Bomb threats made at 18 locations over Singapore; police find no items of security concern

The police added that they are investigating a likely case of a bomb hoax – an offence that carries a jail term of up to seven years and maximum fine of $50,000.

Vihanya Rakshika and Osmond Chia

Vihanya Rakshika and Osmond Chia

The Straits Times


People evacuating the Environment Building at 40 Scotts Road on Aug 23. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS/THE STRAITS TIMES

August 24, 2023

SINGAPORE – The Environment Building at 40 Scotts Road that houses the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) and other government agencies was one of 18 locations under the cloud of a bomb threat on Wednesday.

In a statement, the police said the building – home to national water agency PUB and the National Environment Agency – was targeted, along with government buildings, embassies and other places of interest.

At about 9am on Wednesday, the police were alerted to bomb threats that triggered a lockdown of the Environment Building.

The police conducted checks at the different locations with the help of security officers and said nothing that could be a security concern was found.

The police added that they are investigating a likely case of a bomb hoax – an offence that carries a jail term of up to seven years and maximum fine of $50,000.

The police said they are aware of similar reports of e-mail bomb threats that appear to have been sent by the same person to the Republic of Korea recently, and which then turned out to be a hoax.

The statement said: “The police take all security threats seriously and will not hesitate to take action against those who intentionally communicate false information on bomb threats.”

In a statement on Wednesday evening, an MSE spokesman said security measures were stepped up and access to the Environment Building was restricted since morning. The spokesman added that MSE will cooperate fully with police investigations.

In a Facebook post earlier on Wednesday, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu – who is now in Laos for Asean meetings – said she received news from Singapore that a “security situation” was ongoing at the Environment Building.

She said: “Police had worked with security officers on the premises for preliminary checks and no threat items were found. I’m monitoring the developments closely from here and am in constant contact with my colleagues.”

A video clip on online forum HardwareZone showed groups of people leaving the Environment Building, with at least two police vehicles seen at the driveway.

When The Straits Times arrived at the building just before 1pm, the ground floor was mostly deserted, save for a handful of people milling around the information counter. A sign placed at the turnstiles leading into the lift lobby read: “We have an emergency situation. The building is under lockdown.”

An employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said an e-mail from the facilities’ management at about 10am said there was an emergency situation in the building, which then came under lockdown. Employees were told they could leave the building if they wished to.

In the event of a similar threat, the police said security officers or auxiliary police officers should conduct a search for suspicious items.

The police said: “Some telltale indicators include items atypical of the environment or with overt characteristics, such as wires.

“Security officers and auxiliary police officers have received training on how to assess whether suspicious items are of concern and how to handle such situations appropriately.”

The police also urged members of the public to stay vigilant and report suspicious people and items.

.Additional reporting by Wong Shiying

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