Forum: Take steps to stop illegal use of drains

The suspected illegal immigrants returning to collect their handphones after about five minutes.
The suspected illegal immigrants returning to collect their handphones after about five minutes.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

It is fortuitous that a Straits Times reader's tip-off led to the discovery that public drains skirting residential areas provide suspected illegal immigrants with a concealed path to their makeshift hideouts ('Highway' to leafy hideout, Jan 28).

If it were not for the reader's vigilance, future suspected illegal immigrants might continue to travel in our midst undetected.

The discovery also highlights safety and security issues.

Some public spaces, such as running tracks and parks, overlap with the route taken by these suspected illegal immigrants; members of the public are at risk when they unknowingly cross paths with someone who could be a desperate overstayer or criminal on the run.

Suspects could exploit the drains to easily travel from their hideout to residential areas to obtain supplies.

Preventive measures should be taken to discourage illegal immigrants from using public drains to avoid detection.

Surveillance cameras could be installed along open monsoon drains to detect illegal activities as well as to monitor water levels.

Grille covers could be fixed over open-top drains to prevent entry.

Manholes leading to covered drains could be padlocked to deter entry by unauthorised persons.

Timothy Toh Hong Ern

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2020, with the headline 'Take steps to stop illegal use of drains'. Print Edition | Subscribe