“It is important for young children to be taught to be careful when approached by strangers. At the same time, we need to be careful of spreading untrue stories and unnecessarily alarming parents. Certainly, we should teach our children not to get into any vehicles with strangers,” said Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam in a Facebook post today.
The Minister emphasised that children should be careful when approached by strangers. He also alerted the media to be careful of spreading untrue stories and unnecessarily alarming parents. He was referring to the media reports describing last week’s incidents at international schools in the Dover area as ‘kidnap scares’.
Parents have been alarmed in Singapore in two recent alleged kidnap scares. In the first case that took place on January 11, a United World College of South East Asia student was standing outside the school, when a man supposedly drove alongside her as she was waiting for the bus. The man reportedly told her to get in the van but she walked away and informed an adult.
Singapore Police later said that the man had no ill intent and offered the teen a ride because it was raining.
In the second incident that occurred on January 16, a female student of Tanglin Trust School was walking to the school on Portsdown Road when a white van stopped near her and two occupants tried to entice her to get in.
However, Singapore Police clarified that the van was the school bus and that an attendant had noticed the girl wearing the school uniform and had offered to give her a lift to school. Authorities also said no one had alighted the bus to persuade the student.
Writing on Facebook, Shanmugam said, “Some media reports have called them 'kidnap scares. Media reports have said that the van occupants in one of the incidents had gotten out try to persuade one of the students to get into the van.”
He added, “That is untrue. The van provides transport services for the school, takes students to and from the school.”
Clarifying both these incidents, the Home Affairs Minister said, “The authorities have investigated both incidents thoroughly and interviewed the people involved. There were no kidnap attempts.”
Emphasising teaching children to be careful from strangers, the Minister wrote on the Facebook, “It is important for young children to be taught to be careful when approached by strangers. At the same time, we need to be careful of spreading untrue stories and unnecessarily alarming parents.”
He added, “Certainly, we should teach our children not to get into any vehicles with strangers."