Network of HTX labs at checkpoints to detect threats

With experts in fields as diverse as forensics, biometrics and robotics, the new Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) has placed itself firmly in the front line when it comes to keeping the nation safe. Health and science editor Chang Ai-Lien gets an exclusive look at the agency's high-tech methods of solving crime, saving lives and safeguarding borders.

Senior Lab Analyst Yeow Siang Yun (front) conducting Chemicals, Radiation and Explosive checks on cargo, alongside a security sensitive materials specialist from ICA, at Woodlands Checkpoint on Nov 14, 2019.
Senior Lab Analyst Yeow Siang Yun (front) conducting Chemicals, Radiation and Explosive checks on cargo, alongside a security sensitive materials specialist from ICA, at Woodlands Checkpoint on Nov 14, 2019.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Senior lab analyst Ng Li Teng (top) conducting Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive checks on cargo, alongside a security sensitive materials specialist from ICA, at Woodlands Checkpoint on Nov 14, 2019.
Senior lab analyst Ng Li Teng (top) conducting Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive checks on cargo, alongside a security sensitive materials specialist from ICA, at Woodlands Checkpoint on Nov 14, 2019.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Senior Lab Analyst Ng Li Teng working at the HTX Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Lab at Woodlands Checkpoint on Nov 14, 2019.
Senior Lab Analyst Ng Li Teng working at the HTX Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Lab at Woodlands Checkpoint on Nov 14, 2019. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

At the HTX Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) laboratory at Woodlands Checkpoint, vehicles are screened for security-sensitive substances ranging from chemical agents to drugs.

Drivers, for one, are profiled and some are caught for taking methamphetamine or Ice - a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system - to keep them awake and alert.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2019, with the headline 'Network of HTX labs at checkpoints to detect threats'. Print Edition | Subscribe