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SingPost Centre death: emergency phone numbers put up on walls but intercom system may work better

Mr Soh Eng Thong, 78, was found dead in the Basement 3 stairwell of the South Lobby after missing for almost five days

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Singapore – In light of the recent death in a stairwell in SingPost Centre, posters with emergency numbers have been placed on every floor to help the public.

On Tuesday afternoon (Aug 31), Mr Soh Eng Thong, 78, was found dead in the Basement 3 stairwell of the South Lobby after missing for almost five days.

Mr Soh, a retired taxi driver, left his home on Haig Road on Friday (Aug 27) to attend a wake.

However, he did not come home that night and was unreachable when his family repeatedly called him.

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He picked up the call on Saturday morning, telling his daughter that he was at SingPost Centre. Ms Soh added his legs were tired.

The family quickly searched the mall to no avail. They lodged a police report on the same day.

He was found three days later, lying motionless on the stairwell, reported Straits Times on Friday (Sept 3).

Mr Soh was pronounced dead by a paramedic.

It was reported that the Basement 3 carpark has been closed for more than a year but is still accessible by visitors through the stairwell.

As part of fire-safety protocols on malls, all the doors in the basement floors are one-way and can’t be opened from inside the stairwell once shut.

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Police investigations are ongoing, although they said in an earlier statement that foul play was not suspected.

On Friday, signs highlighting emergency numbers available in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, were posted on every floor from Basement 3 to Level 1.

Straits Times noted that the signs were not there the previous day.

In response to the news, members from the online community wondered if the signs would be of much help, especially in areas with no signal.

“But then the mobile network signal strength in stairwell could be very weak,” noted Facebook user Jaz Chow.

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“So, what’s the point of putting up an emergency number to call when you can’t even make calls in the stairwell.”

The netizen suggested SingPost should test this plan if it is possible “instead of just putting forth a so-called ‘solution’ just for the sake of it.”

Others noted that an emergency phone, such as an intercom system or distress button available at other commercial buildings and lifts, would be a better option.

“Please install an intercom to security, at appropriate height level. You are assuming anyone (especially the elderly and kids) who entered this stairwell has (a phone) with sufficient battery and knows how to read? And there is good network?!! There should also be CCTV installed,” said Facebook user Dawn Low./TISG

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