It's airport duty after reunion dinner

Mr Amrin, accompanied by ICA Deputy Commissioner of Operations Aw Kum Cheong (left), witnessing baggage screening at Changi Airport Terminal 3 yesterday.
Mr Amrin, accompanied by ICA Deputy Commissioner of Operations Aw Kum Cheong (left), witnessing baggage screening at Changi Airport Terminal 3 yesterday.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

This will be the third Chinese New Year that Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA)'s Serene Oh will spend at Changi Airport.

Inspector Oh, who leads a team of 18 officers clearing passports, will work the night shift today and on the first day of Chinese New Year.

"I miss my relatives to some extent, because I know I will miss snippets of family time," said the 27-year-old, adding that she will have her reunion dinner today before reporting for work at 10pm.

Inspector Oh was among officers from the ICA, police and Central Narcotics Bureau that Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin thanked for their service during his visit to Changi yesterday.

"My relatives understand this is part of my job, so they try and make time for me," said Inspector Oh.

She added that the Chinese New Year period is one of the busiest, with 10 to 20 per cent more passengers than usual. The ICA said that up to 20 per cent of officers have to do overtime during the festive season.

Mr Amrin said the additional staffing was necessary because "you need people to process travel documents, and to be on the ground to show (their) presence". Border security officers are the first line of defence when it comes to security threats such as terrorism, he added.

"They could have spent time with their families, but they have taken on the additional shifts," he said. "It's very nice to see our officers rising to the occasion and doing it with such good spirits."

Danson Cheong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 07, 2016, with the headline 'It's airport duty after reunion dinner'. Print Edition | Subscribe