Woodleigh MRT flour scare: Don't use powdery substances as markings, say authorities

Woodleigh MRT flour scare: Don't use powdery substances as markings, say authorities

Powdery substances such as chalk or flour should not be used for activities in public places, the authorities said in a joint advisory on acts causing public alarm.

Woodleigh substance

SINGAPORE: Members of the public, including runners and event organisers, should not use powdery substances such as chalk or flour as markings for their activities, police and the National Parks Board said in a joint advisory on acts causing public alarm.

The advisory, issued on Tuesday (May 9), noted that a 69-year-old man was arrested on Apr 18 for causing public alarm by leaving a "suspicious white substance" at Woodleigh MRT station. The station was closed for about three hours as a result.

The substance was later identified as baking flour, but the incident caused alarm as well as inconvenience to members of the public, the statement said.

Initial investigations showed that the man had used the flour to mark a trail for a running route.

Tuesday's statement noted that the police were aware of local "hash run" groups that may use items such as toilet paper, chalk or flour to mark out running trails at nature reserves, parks or in public places. 

In the statement, the authorities reminded runners and event organisers to write in to NParks before conducting their activities in NParks-managed areas, adding that all markings should be removed or cleaned up immediately after the event, failing which enforcement action could be taken. 

"The police treat all security threats seriously and will not hesitate to take action against anyone who causes public alarm," the advisory stated, adding that members of the public should report any suspicious items or behaviour to the transport authorities or the police immediately. 

"When in doubt, always clarify with the relevant authorities," the police and NParks said. 

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