Group of friends held 14+ hours by police for bringing deodorant powder into Hotel W Sentosa

The hotel staff allegedly thought the powder was drugs.

Melanie Lim | November 24, 2019, 02:14 PM

Birthday celebrations are usually a joyous affair.

However, for one Sharonia Paruntu, her birthday staycation with her friends ended with an arrest and a whole lot of drama.

On Tuesday, Nov. 12, Stanley Paruntu, who says he is Sharonia's father, took to Facebook to air his grievances about what he believed to be his daughter's wrongful arrest after she and her friends spent a night at Hotel W Sentosa.

Here it is:

The caption reads:

"Pity my daughter spent her birthday in jail because Hotel W Sentosa made a report that she was having a drug party. Actually, what they suspected is just powdered deodorant that was put into a medicine bottle."

Puruntu's post has garnered more than 4,900 shares in the past two weeks.

Summary of incident

According to a review by a user named sharoniapatricia on TripAdvisor, Sharonia and her friends had booked a room at Hotel W Sentosa from Nov. 9 - 10, 2019 to celebrate her birthday.

In the morning of Nov. 10, however, Sharonia claimed she and her friends were accused by staffers at the luxury hotel of having a drug party.

The cause of this entire hullabaloo? Some white powder in a sachet that one of the hotel staff found in the room they had checked into when the group had called for assistance regarding a broken glass door in the toilet.

Here's a picture of the broken door:

Photo via TripAdvisor post

According to Sharonia, Hotel W Sentosa then called the police, and she said she spent some 14 hours locked up at the Police Cantonment Complex, where she claims she and her friends were treated like criminals.

After police investigations were made, however, the alleged "drugs" were discovered to not be drugs at all, and instead was something called tawas powder — a type of deodorant made from mineral salts.

Called hotel staff for help when friends stuck in bathroom

According to Sharonia's Instagram stories, two of her friends were stuck inside the hotel room's bathroom at around 2am because they could not open the bathroom door.

Her other friends tried to help to open it, but their efforts ended up breaking the glass.

After about 30 minutes of fruitless attempts to rescue their friends from the shower, the girls decided to call the hotel staff for help.

When the hotel staff arrived, one of them saw the tawas powder and accused Sharonia of bringing drugs into the hotel.

Mothership understands that the staffer saw the powder packaged in a packet.

Image via sharoniaparuntu/IG

Sharonia also claimed the hotel staffers never asked her what the powder was before accusing her of bringing drugs into the hotel.

This is what she pictured the tawas powder to look like:

Image via sharoniaparuntu/IG

Image via sharoniaparuntu/IG

Police treated them like "criminals"

Sharonia also said the police brought her and her friends out of the hotel in handcuffs in what she said was a "really humiliating" experience.

The police, according to her, treated them like criminals over the 14 hours they spent in the lockup, allegedly making them sleep on the floor in the cell and giving them food only once:

Image via sharoniaparuntu/IG

To add insult to their injury, Sharonia also claimed in her TripAdvisor review that the hotel charged her S$1,700 for the broken glass bathroom door that she said got stuck and trapped her friends in the shower.

Police arrested 4 teens, released them at 1:43am

In a statement shared with Mothership, police confirmed the incident, saying they had arrested four individuals aged between 18 and 19, on the morning of Nov. 10, but released them unconditionally in the wee hours of the next day after they confirmed the white powder was not drugs, nor had any of them tested positive for any drugs.

Here's their statement:

"On 10 November 2019 at 9:29am, the Police were alerted to a packet of white powdery substance, suspected to be drugs, found in a room in W Hotel. A man and three women, aged between 18 and 19, who had occupied the room were subsequently arrested for suspected possession and consumption of controlled drugs.

They were released unconditionally at 1:43am on 11 November 2019 after preliminary testing on the white powder and their urine samples turned up negative for controlled drugs."

Mothership has also reached out to Hotel W Sentosa for their response to this incident.

Top image via Sharonia Paruntu on Instagram and Stanley Paruntu on Facebook