2 commuters alert TransCom officers after man said he wanted to 'shoot' people at Tiong Bahru MRT station

They were both given Public Spiritedness Awards for their vigilance and contributions that led to the man's arrest.

Low Jia Ying | December 29, 2021, 03:59 AM

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On July 23, 2021, two commuters were onboard a train at Tiong Bahru MRT station when they overheard a man mumbling to himself that he was armed with a machine gun and wanted to shoot everyone onboard.

Hearing this, they decided to alert a TransCom officer on duty and gave a detailed description of the man, which the police used to track down the suspect and make their arrest.

The alert commuters were subsequently given Public Spiritedness Awards for their assistance in helping the police arrest the man.

Gave extremely detailed description of man

One of the commuters, a 28-year-old office worker in Singapore, was able to very accurately describe what the man looked like, and conveyed this information to the officers.

She told officers that the accused was a Chinese man wearing a grey t-shirt with a black backpack with a "Captain America" keychain attached, and that their train was travelling towards Pasir Ris MRT station.

She was also able to give an accurate estimate of his height.

Officers from TransCom and the Central Police Division conducted follow-up investigations with the help of the description provided by the commuters, police cameras and CCTVs.

Officers were able to establish the identity of the man and subsequently arrested him at his home.

The threat the man made, however, did not appear credible, as the police did not find any of the weapons that he claimed he had after conducting thorough checks at his home.

Commuters given Public Spiritedness Award

The police said they would not have been able to find and arrest the man if not for the "vigilance and contribution" of the two commuters.

They were both presented with the Public Spiritedness Award (PSA) in August 2021 for their contributions.

The 28-year-old office worker was also a member of Riders on Watch (ROW), which is a volunteer programme for commuters to act as additional "eyes and ears" for the police while commuting on public transport.

"There have been many instances of commuters stepping out of their comfort zone to report a crime. Their vigilance, resourcefulness, and willingness to step forward to alert the police have led to the arrest of the suspects and prevented more persons from becoming victims of crime," said Alan Wong Lek Koon, the head of operations of TransCom and superintendent of police.

Riders on Watch subsumed under Community Watch Scheme

Riders on Watch was launched in 2019 under TransCom's Community Engagement Programme.

Under this programme, volunteers keep watch for suspicious persons or activities and provide valuable information to the police when needed.

Since the launch of the Community Watch Scheme (CWS) on Dec. 11, 2021, Riders on Watch has been subsumed under CWS.

Wong said volunteers with Riders on Watch under the CWS can participate in training and exercises that equip them on what to do during an incident, and work alongside officers to prevent and detect crime.

Superintendent Alan Wong said that security threats on public transport networks are real. Image courtesy of SPF.

"Incidents involving armed individuals in other countries are evident that security threats in the public land transport network is real. Coupled with an envisaged expanding public transport network, ROW volunteers can partner police to keep the public land transport network safe and secure," Wong said.

The police invites members of the public to sign up as CWS members if they are willing to be kept updated on crime trends and want to play a role in keeping the community safe.

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Top photos via Google Maps and Singapore Police Force