An unarmed man robbed $30,000 from a bank branch of Standard Chartered Bank at Holland Village at 11.25am on July 7. Making it the first Singapore bank robbery in 8 years since the last incident in 2008.
The robbery was reported to have happened only within the span of a few minutes. The lone individual walked toward the teller then handed her a note. She took the money and handed him $30,000. Then he walked off the building.
It is said that he was unarmed and that there were no securities seen in the bank during that time. It is unknown what was written on the note but it was reported by Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News that the bank employees handed over a stack of notes in fear for their safety.
The bank immediately called the police after the incident to report the robbery and currently assisting the police department in investigations.
The bank stated in its statement that neither employees nor costumers were being injured during the robbery. “We would like to highlight that the safety of our customers and staffs are our top priority and our branch staff are all well trained to react in such situations,” the spokesman of the bank said.
It is reported that the robber is Caucasian. He was wearing a cap with grey hoodie and mustard trousers during the robbery.
The bank was closed after the incident. Some customers were seen being sent away from the bank after the incident.
At about 12 pm, an eyewitness, who refused to be named, said that he saw more than 10 police car were parked in front of the bank. There were police officers wearing bulletproof vest and shields investigating inside and around the bank.
At about 3 pm, the police cordon was extended to the other nearby banks.
Residents in Chip Bee Garden estate across the street said that police officers visited them and showed the pictures of the suspects and asked them if they have seen them. They also saw police officers in plainclothes walked around the neighbourhood checking the dustbins. And some police officers drove around in police’s cars and took pictures of the neighbourhood.
Ms Denise Ritcher, 22, said to the Straits Time that the police officers went to question the cafe’s employees about the suspect and asked them whether they had a CCTV’s recording of the suspect.
The police are conducting an island-wide quest for the suspect who is believed to be an Australian.
Bank robbery – Rare crime in Singapore
The last robbery in Singapore took place in November 10, 2008. A man named Ismail Shaikh Ahmad robbed the United Overseas Bank at City Plaza. Ismail was 45 years old at that moment. He went into the bank, dressed in a woman’s dress. He threatened to explode the bomb using the mobile phone that he carried in a paper bag if the bank does not fulfill his demand. But he failed because the security tackled him down and got arrested.
Another robbery took place in December 10, 2004 where a bank robber walked into the West Coast POSB branch with a wooden plank, took a customer service officer hostage with a fruit knife and was given $37,000 in cash by the bank employees. After getting the money on hand, he ran and locked the individuals present at the branch by jamming the wooden plank against the door. No security was present at the bank branch. Till today, the armed robber is still at large.
A person convicted of robbery will be subjected to imprisonment for a term of not less than 2 years and not more than 10 years and shall also be punished with caning with not less than 6 strokes. If the robbery is committed after 7 pm and before 7 am, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than 3 years and not more than 14 years and shall also be punished with caning with not less than 12 strokes.