Two coffins found in Kallang River

Residents shocked by sight of coffins, which were likely used to repatriate bodies into Singapore

Two coffins, which are believed to have been used to repatriate bodies into Singapore, were found floating in Kallang River yesterday morning.

A photo of the two open coffins was shared on social media platforms Facebook and Reddit, prompting netizens to make light of the unusual sighting.

The two coffins were first spotted near Block 15 Upper Boon Keng Road, according to a report by Chinese-language newspaper Shin Min Daily News.

A 35-year-old resident told a reporter that she was perplexed when she noticed the coffins floating in the river yesterday morning, adding that it was inappropriate for them to be disposed of in such a manner.

It is not known how the coffins ended up in the river or if they have since been removed by the authorities.

Funeral director Jackie Lee from Lee Teoh Heng Undertaker told The Straits Times that the coffins were most likely imported and were not properly disposed of after the bodies were dealt with.

"Whoever dumped the coffins into the river has no morals," he said. "After dealing with the bodies, we will always tear apart the coffins before properly disposing of them."

Mr Lee, who has dealt with imported coffins, said it should not be difficult to trace the parties responsible for the coffins, as the attached shipping labels can be seen in other photos by Shin Min.

According to the National Environment Agency's (NEA) website, a coffin import permit is required to repatriate the body of a Singaporean or permanent resident into the country for cremation or burial.

While it is not yet known how the coffins ended up in Kallang River, funeral director Jackie Lee says they were likely imported and that their origins can be traced from shipping labels.
While it is not yet known how the coffins ended up in Kallang River, funeral director Jackie Lee says they were likely imported and that their origins can be traced from shipping labels. SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO

While some netizens have expressed concern that the coffins may cause pollution, The Straits Times understands that the river is channelled into water treatment plants.

Meanwhile, other netizens are seeing the lighter side of the sighting, with one Facebook post saying: "If you see a very pale looking person who is wet, pls call the Ghostbusters!"

Another Reddit user said: "A great metaphor for life."

The Straits Times has contacted the NEA for more information.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2019, with the headline 'Two coffins found in Kallang River'. Print Edition | Subscribe