MRT station staff allegedly refused to help catch brazen molestor due to “protocol”

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A commuter has alleged that a staff member at Serangoon MRT station refused to help her catch a man who groped her, due to “protocol”.

Facebook user Karmen Siew wrote online that the incident occurred while she was taking the train yesterday. A fellow commuter first brushed his hand over Siew’s thigh and Siew moved her body, believing the brush to be accidental.

The man, however, grew more brazen and brushed up against Siew twice as he moved closer towards her. The man then followed Siew when she alighted at Serangoon MRT station before groping her butt while she was taking the escalator at the station.

Incensed, Siew shouted at the culprit and dashed to the passenger service counter and sought help from the station master there but the station master claimed that he could not help to catch the perpetrator because of “protocol” demanding that he should not abandon his post.

The culprit was brisk-walking to the gantry at this point. According to Siew, the station master failed to block the gantry and cut off the culprit’s access outside the station.

The station master allegedly only called the police, but even then, Siew said he called the Macpherson police station instead of their nearest Serangoon police post.

According to Siew, the station master then offered her a wad of tissue even though she was not crying. Siew wrote that she was furious not just with the culprit but also “at the ineptitude of the people who are supposed to help, and the indifference of those who could.”

Siew added that the station staff told her that she needs to go to the police station to review surveillance footage. Cancelling her plans, Siew made the trip to the station. There, she was not given the opportunity to view the footage but was assured that the police will investigate the case.

The commuter added that she received calls early this morning from the police asking her for more details. The contact with the police appears to have reassured Siew that they are looking into the case.

The incident involving Siew comes weeks after the police reported a 43.8 per cent spike in molest cases on public transport over the past year. That statistic comes after molest cases on public transport jumped by 49 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

Read Siew’s full post here:

I'm so fucking angry right now.So I was on the train. And this fucker next to me brushes his hand against my thigh. I'…

Posted by Karmen Siew on Wednesday, 12 September 2018

In case you cannot read her post:

“I’m so f@#$ing angry right now.

So I was on the train. And this f@#$er next to me brushes his hand against my thigh. I’m like ok. Maybe it was accidental. So I cross my right leg over my left to create space between us. He inches in and intentionally brushes against me. I squeeze my legs into the far corner of the seat, and he inches in and brushes against me AGAIN. I stand up and move one seat down.

Next stop’s mine. I get off, dude follows. At this point I panic and think he’s gonna stalk me. I text a group chat for help. Next thing I know, I’m on the escalator and he gropes my butt.

“F@#$ING HELL!!!!” I yelled, facing him, but seeing far too much red to notice the details of his face, and everyone stared and did nothing.

I dash to the control station, and the asshole isn’t even tapped out yet. (MRT Guy 2, who had to be on duty elsewhere, later says that yes, the gantry could have been blocked, to which MRT Guy 1 keeps quiet.)

I point at the offender, who is not even running, but BRISK WALKING to the gantry, and very loudly exclaim to whomever is listening that he’s a molestor. I ask the station master (let’s call him MRT Guy 1) to stop him from exiting, do something.

NO ONE AT THE GANTRY DOES ANYTHING. MRT GUY 1 OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

MRT Guy 1 doesn’t chase. He says it’s protocol, since he is the only one at the control station and can’t abandon his post. FINE. Instead goes on the phone – I think he’s getting security – but NO, HE CALLS THE POLICE, and not even the one at the nearest station!

DO YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW HOW TO RING THE F@#$ING POLICE??? I HAVE SERANGOON NPC ON SPEED DIAL!

So great. The guy gets away. MRT Guy 2 arrives and puts me on the phone with the police. They say that because it’s late, they only have one guy available for dispatch, and guess what? He’s dispatched right now, so whomever’s coming can only be with me in 30 minutes. They ask if I actually need someone to be there. Naturally, I ask what the officer could do even if he came at this point. Take down my report, apparently. This is also when I find out that our genius, SM(A)RT Guy 1, called the MacPherson police, nowhere near us. The CCTVs can’t be watched at the MRT, but only at the police station. THEN WHAT IS THE DAMN POINT????

Apparently this happens at “other MRT stations”, but it’s the first time the staff actually saw it at Serangoon. SO? Ugh!

I’m THIS angry about the CCTV thing because of what happened with Xinn’s laptop all those years ago. The police came, eyeballed the CCTV and said, oh, because the guy’s wearing a cap, it’s too hard to identify him. So I tilted to the max when I saw that there was no chase and only CCTV.

MRT Guy 1 then passes me a thick wad of tissue. There are no tears in my eyes, not even now, because I’m not sad, I’m just REALLY F@#$ING PISSED, not merely at the asshole who got away, but at the ineptitude of the people who are supposed to help, and the indifference of those who could. The only one I’m not angry with is MRT Guy 2, since it really wasn’t any of his fault.

They told me that I need to go down to the police station myself to review the report. It’s about a 15 minute walk away. I still have shit that needs doing tonight, and I don’t know how long the CCTV review will take, but damn it, I’m angry and I’m going right now. The other stuff can wait. I hope that piece of shit gets caught and gets rekt. F@#$ today.

———————————————————————————

0101am: At the nearest police station. The officers heard nothing of the situation. I am asked if it’s too sensitive, if I need to speak to a female officer. I decline. Repeating my details again as of this timestamp. They called someone (transcomm?) who knows what happened and is coming down now.

Times I’ve been told ‘calm down’: 8 (all men)

———————————————————————————

0120am: Another officer has arrived. At last. As I recount what happened yet again for the fourth time (MRT staff, police on phone, police at station, officer who came later), I’m glad I have timestamps for every step of the way for CCTV checks later as I was on Carousell or messaging friends all throughout, and it was easy to find reference points.

———————————————————————————

0219am: Left the station at last. No, I did not get to review the CCTV. Police-senpai was thorough, didn’t jump to conclusions and recorded everything properly, even saving my sketches. He said there’s a team that will get on it and I may be asked to ID the perp at a later date. Don’t know if I can sleep tonight.

———————————————————————————

0233am: Home safe. To my absolute glee, there is a parcel waiting for me. (Bless you, Lindzi and Thali, for this little spark of happiness to such a bad night.) I’m still not okay, but it certainly helped. 

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0648am: Here’s to sleep, and fingers crossed the police are better at their job than the MRT staff. No, I don’t want him to be fired. I just want justice, a change in protocol, training system, staff that actually USE THEIR POSITION to help. Would he have opened the door and given chase if I were his wife, his girlfriend – protocol be damned? I think so.

———————————————————————————

0936am: Woken up by a call from the police. Sleepy, but good to know they’re on the job. They ask for my ezlink number — makes sense, they can trace the guy from there. Rehash a couple of details, especially the areas I’m fuzzy on. He says there’s a good chance they can find him as the station was not crowded. Another call comes in from another police station, I explain I’m already on the phone with an officer. Again, good to know they’re on the job.

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1020am: Thanks for all the messages, here and PMed, friends. I appreciate all of you, I am seriously touched. I’m not so great with words right now, I’m running on low sleep. But seriously, I had no idea so many of you went through the same, especially on the MRT! There are so many silent victims. Some of you know self-defense. But lots of you were either too shocked/outraged/stunned to react. I completely understand.

A few of you asked to share, so I’m going to chance it. It’s public now.

I wanted to keep it to friends at first, but to all of you for whom this has happened on the train, at the station, to MRT Guy 2 who says it’s the first time in his 3 years at Serangoon… it’s not. It’s happened before. But action did not. Also, all those ads on buses and trains that go ‘speak up if you’re molested’? Ha. Ha. Ha.”