Police, SCDF investigating 'suspicious substance' at Woodleigh MRT, station shut

Police, SCDF investigating 'suspicious substance' at Woodleigh MRT, station shut
Woodleigh MRT temporarily closed due to the discovery of a suspicious substance. Photo: Kenneth Cheng/TODAY
Published: 1:57 PM, April 18, 2017
Updated: 5:06 PM, April 18, 2017

SINGAPORE — The Woodleigh MRT station has been closed due to the discovery of a "suspicious substance", the police said on Tuesday (April 18), urging the public to avoid the area.

Officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force's hazardous materials (hazmat) team and the police are responding to the incident. The police gave no further details about the nature of the substance found.

"Members of the public are advised not to speculate on the case of suspicious substance found at Woodleigh MRT Station. Updates will follow," the police said on social media. "SCDF's HAZMAT officers are at scene attending to the incident."

A 58-year-old cleaner on the morning shift, who did not want to be named because she is not allowed to speak to the press, told TODAY in Mandarin that she spotted some white powered substance near a board at the station as she was about to leave for lunch.

She did not recall seeing the substance when sweeping the floor at about 7am, and decided to inform the manager of the Woodleigh station just after noon on Tuesday.

TODAY reporters on the scene saw at least one SCDF hazmat vehicle, a fire engine and at least four police vehicles outside Woodleigh station. A few members of the public were seen milling outside the shuttered gates to the station.

Earlier, at 1.49pm on Tuesday, transport operator SBS Transit said the station on the North East Line was closed as a result of a "security incident". Free bus rides are available at bus stops between the Serangoon and Potong Pasir stations.

This is the second security incident reported at a MRT station this month. On April 2, a 39-year-old man who left an unattended bag at Hougang MRT station sparked security fears and a brief shutdown of the station.

He was arrested and subsequently released on police bail while investigations continued. The man, who has not been identified, reportedly left his luggage bag unattended and went off to run an errand. The police found only household items in the bag.

This story is developing.