Slow action on unattended bag at airport

I returned to Singapore last night and was the first at the baggage carousel at Changi Airport after clearing immigration checks.

There was no one at that carousel, but an unattended bag was right next to it.

I immediately signalled to Customs officers who had had a clear view of that bag all that while. But they did not take any action.

After waiting for about 10 minutes, I went to the Cisco officer guarding the exit. She came to look at the bag and called her senior and the airport police on the phone. I was told no one responded to her.

I dialled 999 but no one answered my call after two minutes of ringing. Meanwhile, the area was swarming with people and the area around the bag was still not cordoned off.

It was only 30 minutes after I notified the authorities that the airport police showed up. Their casual approach surprised me.

The bag turned out to contain souvenirs from a forgetful traveller.

But what would have happened if it had contained items that could create havoc in a public area?

There is so much emphasis on SGSecure and there have been so many public demonstrations of our anti-terrorism might.

Yet, when there is a seemingly suspicious item left in public, the authorities do not seem to take this threat seriously or with any sense of urgency.

There is definitely a need for more education, not just for the public but also for all uniformed personnel.

Reuben Cheang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2016, with the headline 'Slow action on unattended bag at airport'. Print Edition | Subscribe