Cleaners looked through rubbish for three hours to recover $45,000 worth of jewellery for Queenstown resident

Mr Howlander Sentu (right), 26, and Mr Nurul Islam Mannan Miah, 30, found $45,000 worth of jewellery which was accidentally discarded by a Queenstown resident and returned it to the owner.
Mr Howlander Sentu (right), 26, and Mr Nurul Islam Mannan Miah, 30, found $45,000 worth of jewellery which was accidentally discarded by a Queenstown resident and returned it to the owner. ST PHOTO: CHEW HUI MIN
Mr Sentu (left) and Mr Nurul Islam show where they found the jewellery box in the bin centre near Stirling Road.
Mr Sentu (left) and Mr Nurul Islam show where they found the jewellery box in the bin centre near Stirling Road. ST PHOTO: CHEW HUI MIN

SINGAPORE - It was 6pm on a Saturday (May 28), and Tanjong Pagar Town Council cleaners Howlader Sentu and Nurul Islam Mannan Miah were off duty.

They received an alert from the town council that a resident had lost some jewellery and were told to "keep a look out" for the items, which had been discarded accidentally four to five days ago.

The two Bangladeshi cleaners immediately went to the bin centre near Block 170, Stirling Road, to look through a pile of boxes they had cleared from the nearby Housing Development Board blocks.

After trawling through the rubbish for about three hours, they found a jewellery box hidden among trash within a carton used to store a television.


The jewellery box was mixed with rubbish inside a TV carton similar to that in the photo. The box was left at a lift landing at an HDB block at Stirling Road, and Mr Sentu (left) and Mr Nurul Islam cleared it along with other trash to the bin centre. ST PHOTO: CHEW HUI MIN

It was 10pm by the time they returned the jewellery to the owner.

The owner was so delighted that he was "dancing", said Mr Nurul Islam, 30.

 

It is estimated that the jewellery recovered is worth $45,000.

There were "gold and diamonds", and many items in the box including gold chains, bracelets, lockets and rings, The Straits Times understands.

The two workers received a token of appreciation from the owner, they said, but were not comfortable revealing the amount as "they did not do it for the reward".

Both said they were "happy" to have found the jewellery and returned it to the rightful owner.

The two workers also received a commendation from the town council.

On his Facebook post on June 24, Tanjong Pagar MP Melvin Yong said: "This afternoon, I presented letters of commendation to two of our Tanjong Pagar Town Council cleaners, Nurul Islam and Sentu, for their honesty in reporting and returning $45,000 worth of jewellery to the rightful owner."

The workers also received supermarket vouchers from the town council.

Mr Sentu, 26, came to Singapore to work when he was 20. His monthly pay of $700 supports seven sisters and three brothers back home, he said.

Although he is the youngest sibling, he is the main breadwinner of the family.

Mr Nurul Islam is married and has a six-year-old son.