Over the past week expatriates in Singapore have been shocked by widespread rumors of the attempted abduction of children, with several stories relating to kidnap attempts circulating through the city at break neck speed.
According to reports in the region, the first incident occurred on the 3rd June last week, when a woman in her twenties approached a six-year-old boy at a local shopping and entertainment complex, Turf City. It is claimed that the women tried to coax the boy to go with her, claiming she had been sent by the boy’s mother to collect him. The family’s maid refused to let the boy go with the woman. After making a report to the local police, the mother of the boy sent numerous emails warning parents of the attempted abduction and revealing details of another kidnapping attempt in the Mount Sinai area of Singapore. The email contained claims that Changi airport had been closed for over three hours in response to the incident and that the media hadn’t been informed of the risk because of censorship.
A report was made and police have confirmed they are looking into the incident. However, they have denied the rumors that a wide scale threat of kidnapping is present in the region. Speaking to the local press, spokesman for the authorities, Yvonne Edwin, said: “Police confirm that investigations thus far have shown the recent allegation of a female subject attempting to abduct children at Turf City to be unsubstantiated.
“The police would like to assure the public that there is no established cause for concern.’
She added that the police were continuing efforts to locate the person accused of approaching the boy at Turf City in order to “shed more light on the subject”.
Ms Edwin confirmed that there had been no airport closures in relation to any such incidents.
Since the events of last week, a number of schools in the region have issued letters warning parents of the attempted abductions and instructing them to ensure that their children are accompanied at all times.
Legal authorities in Singapore have warned expatriates against circulating information that is based on heresy as it risks unnecessary alarm and panic and have threatened to take legal action against any individual who knowingly spreads information that is false. They have also instructed members of the public to call 1800-255-0000 if they see anyone behaving suspiciously, or 999 in the event of an emergency.
Kidnapping for ransom is punishable by death in Singapore.