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A look back at past bank robberies, a rarity in Singapore

SINGAPORE — Bank robberies like the one that happened on Thursday (July 7) at Standard Chartered’s Holland Village branch are relatively rare in Singapore.

Police investigating the contents of a dustbin within the cordoned-off area outside the Standard Chartered bank in Holland Village that was robbed on Thursday. Photo: Laura Philomin/TODAY

Police investigating the contents of a dustbin within the cordoned-off area outside the Standard Chartered bank in Holland Village that was robbed on Thursday. Photo: Laura Philomin/TODAY

SINGAPORE — Bank robberies like the one that happened on Thursday (July 7) at Standard Chartered’s Holland Village branch are relatively rare in Singapore.

In December 2004, a man went into a small POSB branch in West Coast which had no security guard at the time. He barred the door with a wooden plank and armed with a small knife, demanded cash from the tellers. He managed to make off with about S$37,000 according to press reports at the time.

Just a month before that, a man had attempted to rob a Maybank branch in Upper Bukit Timah with a toy gun but was shot twice in the attempt.

In November 2008, a man disguised in women’s clothes was arrested after a failed robbery attempt at a United Overseas Bank branch at City Plaza in Geylang Serai. The man, in his 40s, claimed he had a bomb which he would set off with his mobile phone but he was tackled by the security guard who managed to pin him down.

More recently, in October 2013, Ng Shi Qiang planned to rob a POSB branch at Block 926 Yishun Central 1, armed with an illegal air pistol. On the way, Ng developed cold feet and stashed the pistol and other equipment in a nearby dry riser. He was arrested when he attempted to retrieve the items some two days later. He was sentenced to five years and nine months jail and six strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of the pistol.

The robbery that took place on Thursday is thus only the fifth bank robbery or attempted robbery reported in the last 12 years.

Thursday’s incident took place at about 11.25am and the branch has since been closed for police investigations. Standard Chartered has issued a statement saying its staff and customers are safe. The amount stolen is still being ascertained.

The suspect of Thursday’s robbery is still on the loose. A Mediacorp hotline caller who was in the Holland Village area at the time said the police had stopped him and asked him if he had seen a Caucasian man in a cap.

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