Don’t leave your luggage unattended at airports – bag with baby toiletries triggers bomb scare in Changi

Photos: Singapore Police Force surrounding the bag (L) and the bag that was left unattended (R)/Anthony Chen Facebook Page

There are many things for travellers to keep in mind while taking a trip, but one of the most important is not to leave any luggage unattended, especially at airports. To airport security, this looks extremely suspicious and can trigger a bomb scare. London-based Singaporean film-maker Anthony Chen learned that lesson firsthand when, travelling to Singapore with his wife and four-month old son, they accidentally left a bag with baby toiletries on a seat at Changi Airport.

On the evening of Wednesday, January 9, award-winning director of Ilo Ilo fame Anthony Chen was travelling to Singapore from London via Zurich with his family – wife Rachel and baby son Ethan. It was Ethan’s first ever flight, and the family planned to spend Chinese New Year with their families in Singapore and in China.

The Chens arrived at Changi Airport at about 6PM, tired after a long flight, where they were met by Chen’s brother. In their excitement and rush to get out of the airport, they accidentally left a dark blue backpack with Ethan’s baby toiletries on a seat in the arrivals hall.

When Chen spotted the bag, he was excited and happy that it was still there, but when he got closer, he saw that something was amiss – there were three policemen standing around the bag.

Questioned by the police officers as to the nature of the bag, calling it a “suspicious item” and asking why it was left on the seat for so long, Chen told them the whole story.

The police then asked Chen to open the bag so that they could swab it and test it for a possible bomb. Chen was also asked to present his identification and boarding pass, which he readily did.

In the end, the police confirmed that it was just a bag of toiletries, and baby Ethan got his bag back.

Chen shared the experience on his Facebook page, complete with pictures of the bag and the policemen surrounding it.

Here is Chen’s post:

LATE NIGHT DRAMA! So it seems we caused a bit of a #bombscare yesterday. Landed in Singapore early evening but only…

Posted by Anthony Chen on Wednesday, 9 January 2019


In his post, Chen said that he was “very impressed” by the vigilant Singapore Police Force. He also told another online source that he and his family are going to exercise extra caution when they travel from now on. Their next trip will be to China in about a month’s time to visit Rachel’s family.