SINGAPORE: A postman serving areas in Ang Mo Kio has been arrested after a resident said she found unopened mail in a rubbish bin.
Singapore Post (SingPost) said on Tuesday (Jan 29) it was investigating images circulating online of unopened letters in a rubbish bin, including some from government agencies.
"Following the findings from internal investigations, we have referred the case to the police," said the national postal agency in an update. "The postman serving the affected areas was arrested in relation to the case."
"As police investigations are ongoing, we are unable to comment further, but would like to thank Facebook user Alyce Kathlyn for highlighting this case, and allowing us to look into this."
The police confirmed that a report has been lodged, and that a 29-year-old man has been arrested. Investigations are ongoing.
In its statement, SingPost apologised "unreservedly" to residents of the affected blocks. They are: Blocks 175 to 178 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, Blocks 612 to 619 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, Block 611 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5 and Blocks 179 to 182 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5.
The resident, who only wanted to be known as Mrs Loh, told Channel NewsAsia that she discovered around 30 to 40 unopened letters – some sent by the Land Transport Authority and the Community Health Assist Scheme – in a bin at Block 179 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 on Monday night.
She uploaded photos of the letters she found on Facebook the same night. Her post has since been shared more than 6,000 times.
In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia earlier on Tuesday, the national postal agency said it dispatched a team on Monday night to search for the letters.
"SingPost is aware that images of letters allegedly discarded in a bin are circulating online. Based on the addresses on the letters, a team was immediately dispatched to comb the area overnight," it said in a statement that was also posted on its Facebook page.
The team located the rubbish bin and proceeded to "search every bin within the vicinity", but did not find the letters, it said.
"Letter boxes were also opened to check if these letters had been delivered to affected recipients," SingPost added.
Mrs Loh, who is known as Alyce Kathlyn on Facebook, said she removed the letters – which were addressed to residents of different units and blocks – from the rubbish bin. She placed them at the "nearest letterbox, hoping neighbours could find their lost mail".
SingPost said that it was conducting interviews with the postman on duty and is trying to locate the letters so it could have them delivered to the intended recipients.
"Please bear with us as we continue to investigate this and will provide an update as soon as possible," it added.
SingPost also reached out to Mrs Loh via the comment section of her post and apologised for the "unpleasant experience". It also assured her that it would "get to the bottom of this".
Mrs Loh said she found the letters in the bin while searching for her missing parcel. She added that she has seen letters "dumped twice within six months" at the same block.
Her neighbour, who also lives at Block 179, told Channel NewsAsia that he reported to SingPost last year about mail going missing. The civil servant, who asked to remain anonymous, said he has lived at the same block for nearly 30 years and only experienced issues with mail in the last year.
The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) said in a statement on Tuesday evening that it had "grave concerns" over the incident, as well as the spate of recent service lapses by SingPost.
“SingPost must comply with its public postal licence requirements and QoS standards. We will take firm action against SingPost for any breaches of these requirements,” said IMDA.
“SingPost must investigate all complaints and feedback raised, and take urgent steps to improve its service standards and restore public confidence in its postal services," the authority added.
In February 2018, a SingPost postman was fired after he was found to have thrown away returned letters and direct mail at a condominium.
After a member of the public confronted the postman, he admitted to throwing the mail away and complained that he was tired and had been treated unfairly.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect ongoing police investigations.