12 households evacuated after suspected war relic found in Shunfu unit under construction

The corner terrace unit at 43 Jalan Rabu, which is currently under construction, was cordoned off, along with the other 12 terrace and semi-detached houses.
The corner terrace unit at 43 Jalan Rabu, which is currently under construction, was cordoned off, along with the other 12 terrace and semi-detached houses.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Members of the Singapore Armed Forces' Explosive Ordnance Disposal team entering the site on Dec 22, 2020.
Members of the Singapore Armed Forces' Explosive Ordnance Disposal team entering the site on Dec 22, 2020.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - A projectile, believed to be a war relic, was discovered at a corner terraced unit at Jalan Rabu in Shunfu on Tuesday (Dec 22).

Twelve households were asked to evacuate from their homes after it was found.

The corner terraced unit at 43 Jalan Rabu, which is currently under construction, was cordoned off, along with the other 12 terrace and semi-detached houses.

The police said that they were alerted to the discovery of the projectile at 2.02pm on Tuesday.

After consulting the Singapore Armed Forces' Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, it was decided that the projectile would be safely transported to a safe location for disposal, said the police.

Two police cars and several police officers were seen at the scene when The Straits Times arrived around 5pm. Another police car arrived about 50 minutes later.

The road was quiet as most of the evacuated residents had gone elsewhere. No construction workers from the corner unit were seen too.

Residents were allowed to return to their homes around 6.40pm, though the corner unit remained cordoned off.

Mr Floris Sprokkreeff, 46, and his wife, Ms Susan Giri, 37, had been home waiting for a food delivery around 2.30pm when the police knocked on their door. They live diagonally across from the unit under construction.

They quickly grabbed their pets - two dogs on leashes and one cat in a backpack - as well as their phones and keys and left.

"It was a shock when we realised what the police officers were saying so we were panicking to get the dogs and the cat (to come) with us as the cat is usually in the attic and never goes out," said Mr Sprokkreeff, who works as a visual effects artist.

Ms Giri, a housewife, said that she was a bit worried and afraid as this was the first time she had experienced such an incident.

Mr Sprokkreeff added: "You start to think about what else is in the ground there. I hope they do a thorough job checking the area."

The couple have lived in Jalan Rabu since 2016.


Singapore Armed Forces' Explosive Ordnance Disposal team members entering the site on Dec 22, 2020. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

The unit where the projectile was found has been under construction for almost two years and the previous occupant was an elderly woman living on her own, said Mr Sprokkreeff.

"We've been looking at (the unit) for so long. Just the thought of (the projectile) being there all this time is a bit unnerving," he said.

According to a construction notice at the unit, construction was permitted to begin on Feb 13, 2019, and slated for completion by April 12, 2020.

It is being developed by real estate development company Sevens Group and covers 3,461 sq ft of land and 9,135 sq ft of living area. When completed, it will have an attic, basement and swimming pool.

Another resident, who only wanted to be known as Mr Teo and who has lived in Jalan Rabu for more than 20 years, was also asked by the police to evacuate his home, which was a few units down the road from where the projectile was discovered.

The retiree, said he had been resting from 2pm to 3pm and woke up when the police knocked at his door.

"They told me (there was) no need to take so much with me, so I just brought... my cellphone and some water," said Mr Teo, 68, who lives with his wife and dog.

Mr Teo said he was not worried as incidents had occurred before elsewhere in Singapore when old explosives were found and detonated safely.