SINGAPORE: An unattended piece of luggage sparked a temporary shutdown of Hougang MRT station on Sunday (Apr 2). A 39-year-old man was subsequently arrested for causing public nuisance after preliminary investigations show he intentionally left the bag inside the station while running an errand.
SBS Transit announced that all trains on the North-East Line were skipping Hougang MRT station due to a "security incident" in a tweet at 2.55pm. No other details were provided.
02/04, 3.06pm: All trains on the NEL will skip NE14 HGN Station due to a security incident. Free passing bus from NE12 SER to NE15 BGK.— SBS Transit (@SBSTransit_Ltd) April 2, 2017
In a Facebook post, police said they were alerted to the incident at 2.45pm. They confirmed they checked an unattended bag and said they found nothing suspicious. It was later revealed that the bag only contained household items. Police had earlier advised members of the public to avoid the area while investigations were underway.
"We commend the SBST staff for their alertness," police said.
Mediacorp hotline contributor Mr Yu said he saw police surrounding a blue luggage at about 3.30pm, just before the station was evacuated.
(Photo: Mr Yu)
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
2.40pm: Unattended luggage was spotted at the MRT station.
2.45pm: Police notified of the unattended bag.
2.55pm: SBS Transit, which runs the North-East Line, announces that all trains will not stop at Hougang MRT station. Staff start to turn away commuters.
3.45pm: Station is shuttered.
4pm: Bag is opened and contents found to be "non-dangerous", SBS Transit says. Police later say these were household items.
4.03pm: Train services resume after police give the all-clear.
4.35pm: Police arrest 39-year-old man.
Channel NewsAsia understands the man is a construction worker from China. It is believed that he stays at a dorm in Punggol.
According to police, the man was arrested at 4.35pm. They had led the man into a room at a station for questioning for about three hours before he was escorted away by police.
"The police treat all security threats seriously and will not hesitate to take action against anyone who intentionally causes public alarm," said the Singapore Police Force (SPF).
In a statement on Sunday evening, police added that members of the public should remember not to leave their personal belongings unattended and to report any suspicious items or behaviour to train station staff or police immediately.