Source: CNA.

Incidents of students being approached by strangers in van, spur warnings sent to parents

Students are advised to avoid walking alone after female students were approached by strangers and asked to get into a white van on separate occasions within a space of a few days in the vicinity of two international schools in Singapore.

Tanglin Trust School’s chief executive Peter Derby-Crook wrote an email to every parent of Tanglin Trust School, saying that the incident occurred when a student was walking to the school, which is located on Portsdown Road on Tuesday (16 January).

As seen from the letter, he noted that as this was not the first time such incident happened though it did not happen at the same school.

However, he reminded parents to talk to their children advising them that if anyone approaches them that they do not know, they should ignore them and swiftly move away.

Mr Derby-Crook also stated that a Police report has been lodged and the school has requested a higher police presence around the school.

Source: Channel News Asia.

Speaking to Channel News Asia, the CEO said the student was walking from one-north MRT station at 12.30pm when a white van stopped near her and two occupants from the van tried to entice her to get in. However, despite her ignoring them, they persisted.

The two occupants got out of the van and continued to entice her. However, she moved quickly away and, fortunately, arrived at school safely.

Mr Derby-Crook said, “All parents of Tanglin Trust School were informed of the incident the same afternoon with the suggestion that students should not walk alone in the vicinity of the school but walk with friends,” adding that students were reminded the same day of how to stay safe and what to do if they are approached at any time by a stranger.

The first incident took place along Dover Road on 11 January.

The Head of College of UWC South East Asia Chris Edwards also sent an email to parents of the school on 12 January saying a student had been “approached” while she was on her way home.

He stated, “It has been brought to our attention that one of our Middle School students was approached on Dover Road yesterday afternoon, Jan 11, by a man driving a van.”

“He drove alongside her as she was waiting for the bus and called to her from the road, telling her to get into the van. The student took exactly the right action: She did not respond, walked away in the opposite direction, and informed a known adult,” he added.

Responding to CNA’s queries, the school’s director of Communications and College Affairs Sinéad Collins said that the students and her parents filed a police report.

The school also informed other schools in the area and fellow international schools, asking them to take precautionary steps.

Writing on its Facebook page, Singapore Police Force (SPF) confirmed that two reports have been lodged and investigations are ongoing.

“We have established the identity of the driver for one of the cases and he is assisting with Police investigations,” it stated.

The Police also appeal members of the public not to speculate as investigations are ongoing.