Delivery rider arrested at Waterway Point mall after incident with bubble tea shop staff

Videos of the incident show the GrabFood delivery rider shouting at Playmade employees at the outlet. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM VASTER NEWS/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Customers wanting one last taste inundated bubble tea chain Playmade with more than 150 orders for delivery in the last hour to closing time on Tuesday (April 21), before it had to shutter until at least May 4 as part of stricter measures to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

This gave rise to an incident between a GrabFood delivery rider and staff at Playmade's outlet at Waterway Point mall in Punggol.

Videos of the incident, which have been circulating on social media and text messaging platforms, show the rider shouting at Playmade employees at the outlet.

The Straits Times understands that the rider, a 38-year-old man, was arrested by police in relation to the incident.

Police said on Wednesday that they received a call for assistance at 83 Punggol Central at about 9.40pm on Tuesday, and they subsequently arrested the man.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday in reaction to the incident at Waterway Point, Playmade said the rush to meet the orders "had brought immense pressure on both our team and delivery riders to complete within that short time frame to closing".

It said in a subsequent statement that it had tried to stop further online orders from coming through, but there were already more than 100 orders in the system waiting to be matched with GrabFood delivery riders by that time.

It added that the GrabFood rider had repeatedly asked one of its staff about the waiting time for his order, and became angry when the employee responded with a reply that included a vulgarity.

The chain, which has nine outlets in Singapore, said that its staff apologised to the rider after that, and it has since counselled the employee.

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It also apologised to all customers and riders who were affected by the incident.

The Government had announced stricter measures to combat the Covid-19 outbreak on Tuesday, including the temporary closure of stand-alone food and beverage outlets such as bubble tea shops from 11.59pm on the same day.

Following the announcement, long queues were spotted at bubble tea shops across the island before closing time.

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