Record 83 hotels given awards for security standards

SINGAPORE - A record 83 hotels were given the Hotel Security Award on Thursday.

The awards, presented by the Singapore Hotel Association (Sha), National Crime Prevention Council, and Singapore Police Force, are in their 20th year.

Ten hotels, including Grand Hyatt, Marina Mandarin and Shangri-La, received the Star Award for having won the security award 20 years in a row.

Guest-of-honour Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Amrin Amin also gave prizes to 18 hotel staff for having exhibited honesty, bravery or vigilance in their duties.

Among them was Pan Pacific pool attendant Rosalyn Pinon Goh, 36, who saved a drowning toddler last December.

The three-year-old girl was struggling to keep her head above water, but her family members were busy taking photos elsewhere and did not notice.

Ms Goh quickly dived into the pool to save the child.

Hotel Jen Orchardgateway service associate Jerry Ma, 22, was also acknowledged for his part in uncovering drug offences in April. While doing service rounds, Mr Ma discovered a suspicious packet lying on the floor of the lift lobby.

When he opened it, it was filled with a crystalline white substance he suspected to be methamphetamine.

He reported the packet to the security department, and was surprised to learn later down the road that his discovery had led to three people being arrested for drug trafficking.

Said Mr Ma: "I felt very proud to have upheld the reputation of the hotel."

For security executive Gerard de Souza, the job sometimes means being on the receiving end of blows from guests.

The 58-year-old was on lobby duty at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium last December when he had to deal with an inebriated man who tried to enter the ladies' restroom.

Later he had to prevent another fight between the man and two other drunks who had started harassing the former's girlfriend as she waited for a cab.

He got kicked and shoved by the two drunks for his efforts, until they were eventually removed by police.

"I tried to remain calm," said Mr de Souza. "I was worried about the other guests in the driveway. I knew a fight would jeopardise their safety."

Sha president Albert Teo stressed the importance of hotel security, citing recent terrorist attacks such as a shooting at a Tunisian hotel in June.

"For the industry, this means that all employees, both security and non-security personnel, must take it upon themselves to be the 'eyes and ears' of the hotels," he said.

"Nothing is too small a matter when it comes to safety and security."

oliviaho@sph.com.sg