Police looking for parents of abandoned baby boy

Above: A police officer checking the contents of the bin of a rubbish chute at Block 534 Bedok North Street 3, inside which a baby boy was found alive yesterday. The newborn was later taken to hospital. Left: Town council cleaner Patwari Shamin told
Above: A police officer checking the contents of the bin of a rubbish chute at Block 534 Bedok North Street 3, inside which a baby boy was found alive yesterday. The newborn was later taken to hospital. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Above: A police officer checking the contents of the bin of a rubbish chute at Block 534 Bedok North Street 3, inside which a baby boy was found alive yesterday. The newborn was later taken to hospital. Left: Town council cleaner Patwari Shamin told
Above: Town council cleaner Patwari Shamin told reporters that he was removing rubbish from the bin between 8am and 9am when he found the baby crying in a bag with blood in it. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Above: A police officer checking the contents of the bin of a rubbish chute at Block 534 Bedok North Street 3, inside which a baby boy was found alive yesterday. The newborn was later taken to hospital. Left: Town council cleaner Patwari Shamin told
Above: Curious members of the public gathered at the foot of Block 534, where police went from door to door on each of the 13 floors in their search for the baby's parents.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Infant found in bin of chute at HDB block in stable condition with no visible injuries

Police are searching for the parents of a baby boy who was found alive in the bin of a rubbish chute at Block 534 Bedok North Street 3 yesterday morning.

They went from door to door on every floor of the 13-storey block in their search.

The officers are also contacting owners of vehicles parked at the open-air carpark near the block to ask for footage from their in-car cameras.

Car owner Ng Kok Khim told The Straits Times: "I received a call from the police asking if they could access the footage of my in-car camera.

"The officer said it was to assist in the investigations of a case, but he didn't give any details of the case. At first, I thought someone may have hit my car."

Mr Ng said he parked his car at the block at 8am yesterday and headed to the market on the opposite side, where he runs a retail shop.

The police said they received a call for help at the Housing Board block at 9.11am.

Paramedics dispatched to the scene attended to the baby, who was in stable condition with no visible injuries. He was then taken to hospital, police added.

When found, the newborn was in a blood-stained, tied-up plastic bag lying among other bags of rubbish and food packaging.

Mr Patwari Shamin, 24, a town council cleaner, told reporters that he was removing rubbish from the bin between 8am and 9am when he found the baby crying in a bag with blood in it.

He informed the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).

 
 
 

Retiree Lim Yok Liang, 72, who was heading to a nearby coffee shop for breakfast at 9.20am, told ST: "I saw an ambulance at the open-air carpark under the block. There was a policeman carrying a baby wrapped in a cloth.

"The baby was not crying. He looked like he was still breathing."

The infant was taken by ambulance to KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

Workers' Party secretary-general Pritam Singh, who is vice-chairman of AHTC, said that "a million thoughts" passed through his head when he saw the pictures of the baby left in the bin.

"Had the worker not found the blessed child, he could have been crushed by the compactor where all rubbish is centrally disposed of in the precinct.

"Thankful to the Singapore Police Force and staff at the AHTC Kaki Bukit office for their assistance in this incident today."

He added: "And a prayer for everyone distressed by this painful news."


Cleaners carrying the bin where the baby was found to the bin centre following the discovery. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

In the past 10 years, 17 abandoned babies were found in Singapore, according to statistics from the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

Last year, the ministry handled one case of an abandoned baby. There were no reported cases in 2017 and 2018.

In 2016, two abandoned babies were found alive. One was abandoned at a hospital, and the other was dumped at the staircase of an HDB block.

Parents who abandon their child under the age of 12 can be jailed for up to seven years or fined, or given both punishments.


Help available

Expectant mothers have the following avenues to seek help:

24-hour Mum-To-Be Helpline: 1800-686-8623

Pregnancy Crisis Service: 6339-9770

For teenagers facing a pregnancy crisis:

Babes 24-hour call or SMS helpline: 8111-3535

Safe Place: 6817-4202

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2020, with the headline 'Police looking for parents of abandoned baby boy'. Print Edition | Subscribe