Police investigating incident at Playmade bubble tea shop, one man arrested

Police investigating incident at Playmade bubble tea shop, one man arrested

38-year-old man arrested for public nuisance at Waterway Point shopping mall
Footage of the incident at Waterway Point shopping mall were widely circulated on social media. 

SINGAPORE: A 38-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday (Apr 21) after an argument broke out at the Playmade bubble tea shop in Waterway Point. 

The police said they received a call for assistance at about 9.40pm at the mall, located at 83 Punggol Central, and arrested the man for public nuisance.

Police investigations are ongoing.

Videos of the incident have been widely shared on social media. In the footage, a GrabFood delivery rider is seen having a heated argument with Playmade employees.

READ: Playmade bubble tea shop first establishment fined for flouting COVID-19 safe distancing measures

READ: From bubble tea runs to getting a haircut: What you can or cannot do under tighter COVID-19 circuit breaker rules

In a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, Playmade said it was aware of the videos.

“During this time, our team had received over 150 different orders (an average of 600 cups) via delivery alone within the last hour of closing, despite efforts to stop orders from coming through. 

"This had brought immense pressure on both our team and delivery riders to complete within that short time frame to closing,” it said.

The bubble tea chain added that it is “thoroughly investigating” the incident with the relevant authorities, and also apologised to customers and delivery riders who were affected.

In a subsequent update, Playmade confirmed that a GrabFood delivery rider had been arrested but "contrary to social media chatter", the bubble tea outlet was not the party that reported the incident to the police. 

While their staff members were working to fulfill the "huge surge in demand", long queues built up at their Waterway Point outlet, Playmade said in a media statement. 

"A Grab driver expressed his impatience at one of our staff and repeatedly demanded to know how long he would have to wait. Under pressure and out of frustration, our staff responded that if he had to give an estimate, it would be 'a f****** long' wait. The driver reacted angrily and asked our staff for an apology."

Playmade said the staff members then apologised to the Grab driver and the other delivery riders while some customers tried to diffuse the situation. 

"We have counseled our staff and he is in deep remorse over his uncouth choice of adjective. We and our staff sincerely apologise to the Grab driver, our customers and other Grab drivers who were inconvenienced by yesterday’s incident," Playmade said.

The bubble tea brand added that it remains "very appreciative" of all Grab drivers who are "among the frontline heroes" in the fight against COVID-19.

READ: COVID-19: Go out alone for essential needs, don't make it a ‘family outing’, say Singapore leaders

READ: Visits to 4 popular markets to be restricted based on patrons' IC numbers: NEA

The incident at Waterway Point took place shortly after the authorities said that more shops and food and beverage outlets in Singapore will have to suspend operations, following the trimming of essential services as part of stricter measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Replying to CNA's queries, Grab said that it saw a "sudden surge in orders" on Tuesday evening after the new measures were announced. 

"Our delivery and merchant partners had been working hard to fulfil them," said the ride-hailing app, adding that the company was looking into the incident. 

"These are challenging times for all of us, and we would urge more patience and understanding among all users."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday announced the extension of the current "circuit breaker" period for another four weeks until Jun 1, to "decisively" bring down the number of coronavirus cases

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Source: CNA/zl(cy)

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