Shoppers, be alert to terror threats, Josephine Teo urges

Senior Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office, Foreign Affairs and Transport) Josephine Teo.
Senior Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office, Foreign Affairs and Transport) Josephine Teo. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

In the midst of the usual year-end sales, shoppers can also do their part to stay alert to terror threats, said Senior Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office, Foreign Affairs and Transport) Josephine Teo yesterday.

She was speaking at the opening of the third police community roadshow, held at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.

The roadshow marked the expansion of the Shoppers-On-Watch programme to the heartland.

The programme, first introduced in May as part of a safe shopping campaign in Orchard Road, aims to educate shoppers on how they can prevent crime by looking out for suspicious behaviour.

Mrs Teo said the programme complemented the SGSecure movement introduced in September as part of efforts to increase levels of preparedness for crises such as terror attacks.

"By calling upon members of the public to look out for suspicious characters and behaviour, Shoppers-On-Watch reinforces the need to stay alert to any tell-tale indicators of terrorist activities," said Mrs Teo, who is also a Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

The Singapore Police Force encouraged shoppers to stay alert and report any suspicious activities or items to retailers or the police to "prevent, deter or detect" crime and terror-related activities.

Some retailers have been trained on how to respond when shoppers provide information about suspicious activity in their premises.

On Friday, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said there was a greater terror threat now compared with last year. He noted an uptick in terrorism-related arrests in Indonesia, and said extremism propagated by terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had taken root in the region.

Transport workers, too, have been identified as first responders in crisis situations, during the public transport sector's first counter- terrorism seminar, also on Friday.

Mr Desmond Choo, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law, said people must "stay vigilant" during this period, especially in crowded areas such as year-end countdown parties.

"Terrorists have neither downtime nor vacation," he said.

Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 04, 2016, with the headline 'Shoppers, be alert to terror threats, Josephine Teo urges'. Print Edition | Subscribe