Armed robbery at Western Union branch in Ubi; suspect at large, no one injured

The suspect was wearing a white helmet, black jacket and dark-coloured long pants when he forced a Western Union bank employee to hand over more than $2,000.
The suspect was wearing a white helmet, black jacket and dark-coloured long pants when he forced a Western Union bank employee to hand over more than $2,000.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
The man who was armed with a knife, forced a staff to hand over more than $2,000 before he fled on foot.
The man who was armed with a knife, forced a staff to hand over more than $2,000 before he fled on foot.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
The man who was armed with a knife, forced a staff to hand over more than $2,000 before he fled on foot.
The man who was armed with a knife, forced a staff to hand over more than $2,000 before he fled on foot.ST PHOTO: SEOW BEIYI
The man who was armed with a knife, forced a staff to hand over more than $2,000 before he fled on foot.
The man who was armed with a knife, forced a staff to hand over more than $2,000 before he fled on foot.ST PHOTO: SEOW BEIYI

SINGAPORE - An armed robbery took place at a Western Union branch in Ubi on Tuesday (Aug 1) morning.

The crime happened at 10.50am at 301 Ubi Avenue 1.

A man, who was armed with a knife, forced a bank employee to hand over more than $2,000, police said in a statement.

The man then fled on foot. The employee was not injured and no other person was inside the branch at the time of the incident.

The suspect was wearing a white helmet, black jacket and dark-coloured long pants.

Police investigations are ongoing.

Anyone with information is requested to contact the police at 1800-255-0000, or online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

When The Straits Times arrived at the scene at around 1pm, officers were seen interviewing people nearby. The branch was shuttered.

"I've been working here for only a month, but I have not noticed any security officers outside the branch," said an employee of the nearby Da Zhong Guo bakery, who declined to be named. She said she did not see what happened.

Usually, the patrons of the Western Union branch are foreign workers, and it gets crowded during lunch hour on weekdays, added the bakery employee.


The female bank employee (right), who was forced to hand over more than $2,000, outside the Western Union branch in Ubi on Aug 1, 2017. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

"I've worked here for around five to six years and it has always been quite safe. It is the first time something like that has happened," said a Chinese physician whose shop is beside the Western Union branch. The physician, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lee, added that he did not know how the robbery took place.

The landlord of the Western Union branch, who wanted to be known only as Mr Liu, said he heard a cry for help  at around 11am. But when he went to see what happened, the alleged robber was nowhere to be found.

"She said, 'Please help me, there was a robbery', so I ran out to see what happened. But I didn't see anyone suspicious. She looked very anxious and panicked. She only told me that someone came to rob the branch," added Mr Liu, 56, who runs a floral shop next to the Western Union branch.

He added that he has rented the space to the branch for around six years.

"I didn't think something like that could happen. Of course I am shocked," he said, adding that he hopes the authorities can patrol the area more regularly in the day as well.

Police often patrol the area in the evening when it gets busier, he said, adding that there are many foreign workers who frequent the neighbourhood.

"I came to open my shop at around 11am, but there was no police cordon," said Mr Lim Wei Lun, 31, who works for a locksmith next door. At the time, the incident had already taken place, but he did not notice anything amiss.

The police cordon was removed at around 2.40pm. The bank employee who was threatened was taken away in a police car at around 3pm. She did not respond to media questions.

This is the second armed robbery in two days. A 48-year-old man was arrested on Monday for an armed robbery at a Shell petrol station at 219 Upper Bukit Timah Road.