Man arrested for security scare at Hougang MRT station out on police bail

Man arrested for security scare at Hougang MRT station out on police bail
(Left) Bag that was left unattended. (Right) Police seen escorting a man in a singlet at Hougang MRT who is believed to be behind the unattended bag. Photos: Rubin Aw, Nuria Ling/TODAY
Published: 4:03 PM, April 4, 2017
Updated: 10:18 PM, April 4, 2017

SINGAPORE — A 39-year-old man arrested for sparking a security scare at Hougang MRT station with an unattended bag on Sunday has been released on police bail while investigations are ongoing, TODAY understands.

The man, who has not been identified, reportedly left his luggage bag unattended at the Hougang MRT station on Sunday afternoon and went off to run an errand. This triggered a security scare that shut down the station for over an hour as the police were called in to inspect the bag's contents.

The police found only household items in the bag. The man was arrested for causing public alarm, and was escorted out of the Hougang MRT station in handcuffs at around 7.30pm on Sunday.

Addressing the incident in a speech on Tuesday, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said closing the station on Sunday was the "right thing to do".

"There were questions as to whether we overreacted. But if it were really a bomb, then the question will be why we didn't, so closing it was the right thing to do," he said in a speech at the Milipol Asia-Pacific 2017, an exhibition on homeland security.

The minister added that he was "heartened" by the immediate decision to shut down the Hougang station, after the man was seen on a security camera leaving behind his bag and walking away.