Bank robberies rare in Singapore

At least seven security cameras covered every angle of the West Coast Drive POSBbranch, but there was no guard on duty when an armed robber walked in on Dec 10, 2004, and left with $37,000.
At least seven security cameras covered every angle of the West Coast Drive POSBbranch, but there was no guard on duty when an armed robber walked in on Dec 10, 2004, and left with $37,000.PHOTO: ST FILE

Bank robberies are rare in Singapore, with the last one taking place more than a decade ago.

On Dec 10, 2004, a man armed with a fruit knife walked into a POSB branch at Block 501, West Coast Drive, near closing time and made off with $37,000.

The lone robber, who wore a surgical mask, sunglasses and a hooded raincoat, entered the bank carrying a wooden plank, which he calmly placed across the door handles.

He then grabbed a woman being served at one of the four counters and held the knife to her neck. He ordered the staff to hand over the money, shouting: "Give me the money!"

He placed the $37,000 in a red plastic bag and dashed out, locking staff in by jamming the door with the plank. In the process of fleeing, he dropped the fruit knife near the door.

Nine women - six employees and three customers - were inside the bank at that time. They were not injured.

No security guard was in the bank when the robbery occurred, even though one was supposed to be on duty.

The suspect is still at large.

There have been a very small number of attempted bank robberies since then.

A person convicted of robbery can be punished with a jail term of between two and 10 years and caning. If he was armed with a deadly weapon, the offender will get at least 12 strokes of the cane added. The use or attempted use of a gun carries the death penalty.

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2016, with the headline 'Bank robberies rare in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe