Bomb threats at 18 locations including government buildings; police found no items of security concern
The Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) separately confirmed its statutory boards received a bomb threat related to the Environment Building at Scotts Road.
SINGAPORE: Police were alerted to alleged bomb threats at 18 locations around Singapore on Wednesday morning (Aug 23), including government buildings, embassies and other places of interest.
Security checks were conducted and no items of security concern were found, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF), adding that it was alerted to the case at about 9.10am.
SPF did not provide further details of the threats or where the 18 locations are, but the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) separately confirmed that there was a bomb threat related to the Environment Building.
The police also said they are aware of similar reports of email bomb threats in South Korea recently - seemingly sent by the same person - which turned out to be a hoax.
"The police are investigating this case of communicating false information of a harmful thing under Section 268A of the Penal Code 1871," SPF added. The offence carries a jail term of up to seven years, a maximum fine of S$50,000 (US$36,800), or both.
“The police take all security threats seriously and will not hesitate to take action against those who intentionally communicate false information on bomb threats."
Yonhap news agency reported on Aug 17 that South Korean authorities were looking into a series of bomb threats made via email in recent weeks. No explosives linked to the threats have been found.
Five such emails, which identified targets like schools and government offices, appeared to have been sent from Japan and are suspected of being related to phishing scams, the report said.
A recent email, sent in the name of a Japanese law firm, claimed that “high-powered bombs with needles” had been planted at the Japanese embassy, the Supreme Court and city halls across the country, said the report.
News of a potential situation at the Environment Building at 40 Scotts Road emerged at around 9am when multiple sources told CNA that people were allowed to leave but not enter.
The building houses MSE and its statutory boards the National Environment Agency (NEA) and water agency PUB.
An email sent to employees at about 10am said there was an "emergency situation" and that the building was "under lockdown" but people could leave if they wanted to.
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu later wrote on Facebook that she was informed of a "security situation" but that no threat items were found following preliminary checks by the police and security officers.
The ministry said on Wednesday night, in response to CNA's queries, that it has stepped up security and restricted access to the Environment Building.
"The safety of all staff and stakeholders of the Environment Building is our priority," it added. "MSE will cooperate fully with the Singapore Police Force in police investigations."
Employees at the Environment Building were informed in an email at about 12.10pm that the building would be closed for the rest of the week.
In the event that similar threats are received at building premises, the police said security officers or auxiliary police officers should conduct a search for suspicious items.
“Some tell-tale indicators include items atypical of the environment, or with overt characteristics such as wires. Security officers and APOs have received training on how to assess whether suspicious items are of concern and how to handle such situations appropriately," the police added.
Members of the public are also advised to stay vigilant and report suspicious individuals or items. This includes people in unusual attire and acting suspiciously, or parcels with stains, wires or emitting a strange smell.