Two foreign nationals were detained and questioned by the police yesterday for reportedly taking photos of the Bishan SMRT train depot, a secured facility – this is a contravention of the Infrastructure Protection Bill, which was just passed in parliament three days ago, to enhance security for major infrastructure locations.
Taking unauthorised photos of protected places also contravenes the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act, unless the authority in charge of the area allows the photography.
Local reporters reported that the foreigners managed to board a shuttle bus reserved for transporting personnel to the depot and that they were discovered to not have authorised passes at the security gantry. This is apparently when the men claimed that they wanted photos of the place and whipped out their cameras to snap pictures.
10 police officers and security staff quickly surrounded the men and proceeded to question them for about 30 minutes at the gate before escorting them into the security guardhouse. An SMRT spokesman later said:
“The vigilance of security personnel at Bishan Depot resulted in them approaching two individuals who were seen taking pictures of the train depot. The depot is gazetted as a protected place. Our security personnel detained the two suspects and handed them over to the police.”
Netizens responding to the detention of the foreigners predominantly praised the Singapore Police Force for its quick action:
Interestingly, this is not the first time Bishan SMRT train depot’s security has been breached. In 2014, two 21-year-old Germans vandalized the exterior of an SMRT train with indelible spray paint after sneaking into the secured facility. They were both sentenced to nine months in jail and three strokes of the cane in court the next year.
Even before that, in 2011, SMRT was fined $200,000 by LTA after a train cabin was vandalised following a security lapse.