No "child-grabbing" attempt near PCF kindergarten in Hougang: Police

POLICE have investigated an alleged "child-grabbing" incident in Hougang and have confirmed that there was no such attempt.

"On May 6 at about 11am, police received a call informing us about a man in his 50s who was seen interacting with some children in the vicinity of Block 326 Hougang Ave 7," said a police statement on Thursday.

The police then contacted the informant and the PAP Community Foundation Centre (PCF) at nearby Block 328 to gather more information. Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect is a "neighbourhood character". "Police investigation are in full swing to identify and pick up the suspect," said the statement.

The PCF kindergarten in Hougang had alerted parents to what it described as a case of "child-grabbing" incident. A notice was also put up outside the kindergarten informing parents about the matter and urging them to be careful. According to the PCF notice, a man had tried to grab a child away from the mother, but was not successful as the mother held on to the child's hand. The man ran away after that. A screenshot of the notice, which was posted online, generated much discussion among concerned parents.

Responding to media queries, the police urged the public not to circulate or repost the incident. "It can generate unnecessary public alarm, causing fear and panic in the community." said the statement.

Transmitting false messages is an offence under Section 45 of the Telecommunications Act, said the police. If this is done with intent to create cause fear and alarm, or to incite offences against a class or community of persons, it may also be an offence under Section 505 of the Penal Code. Offenders may be punished with imprisonment for up to three years, fined or both.