Western Union armed robbery: Branch operations back to normal after delayed reopening

Western Union armed robbery: Branch operations back to normal after delayed reopening

Western union reopens
The branch reopened for business on Wednesday around 12.30pm. (Photo: Jalelah Abu Baker)

SINGAPORE: A Western Union branch in Ubi is up and running after a delayed reopening on Wednesday afternoon (Aug 2), a day after an armed robber took off with more than S$2,000

WU customers reopen
Customers at the reopened Western Union branch. (Photo: Jalelah Abu Baker) 

The branch at Block 301 Ubi Avenue 1 was due to open at 11am, but at that time, two female employees outside the shuttered branch said they were waiting for the police to arrive to give them the go-ahead. 

At about 11.50am, police were seen inside the branch with the staff, but the shutters remained.

Western Union staff were seen directing customers to other nearby branches at Kaki Bukit and Paya Lebar. At least 10 customers were turned away within an hour.

The branch eventually reopened at around 12.30pm.

WU Branch closed
Customers looking at a notice on the shutters, saying that the branch will open at 11am on Wednesday. (Photo: Jalelah Abu Bakar) 

On Tuesday at around 10.50am, a man armed with a knife forced a female employee to hand over more than S$2,000 in cash. Wearing a white motorcycle helmet, a black jacket and dark-coloured pants, the suspect fled on foot. He remains at large. 

The Western Union employee was not injured and there were no customers inside the branch at the time of the robbery.

Western Union suspect
Police released this photo of the suspect who robbed a Western Union branch on Jul 31, 2017. (Photo: SPF)

When Channel NewsAsia visited the branch on Wednesday before it reopened, one domestic helper from the Philippines, who did not want to be named, recounted how she tried to use the services at the money remittance firm at about noon on Tuesday after the robbery, but was turned away after waiting for about an hour.

Another Filipino domestic helper, 33-year-old Girlie Genova was at the branch at about 11.30am, after trying unsuccessfully on Tuesday to send her monthly salary to her family.

Both the maids' employers live nearby.

WU branch notice closeup
The notice pasted on the shutters of the branch on Wednesday morning. (Photo: Jalelah Abu Baker) 

"I want to send the money to my children quickly," said Ms Genova, who has been working here for six months and has three children aged six, eight and 11 back in the Philippines.

She said the other Western Union locations are too far, and that she was likely to return to the Ubi branch, or wait until Sunday to remit the money at Lucky Plaza.  

This is the second armed robbery in as many days. On Monday, an armed robbery also took place at a Shell petrol station at Upper Bukit Timah. The suspect in that robbery has been charged

Source: CNA/ad