Strangers try to lure two international students into van: Police identify one suspect

Police are investigating two alleged attempts to kidnap two female international students in the Dover area.

In both attempts, men were seen asking the students to get into a van.

The driver in one of the cases have been identified and is assisting with investigations.

The first case on Jan 11 involved a United World College (UWC) South-east Asia Dover campus middle school student who was waiting for her bus along Dover Road.

In a letter that was issued to parents by the school, UWC said that the girl was approached by a man driving a van, who asked the student to get into the vehicle.

"The student took exactly the right action: she did not respond, walked away in the opposite direction of the van, and informed a known adult," said the letter. She and her parents filed a police report that night.

The second incident took place on Tuesday (Jan 16) at 12.30pm, involving a female student from Tanglin Trust School, which is located 2.5km away from UWC. She was walking to school from one-north MRT station when she was approached by two people in a white van to get in.

A school spokesman told The Straits Times that she ignored them and continued to walk to school.

The two occupants of the van then got out of their vehicle and continued to entice her but she moved away quickly and arrived at school safely.

Both schools have sent out letters to parents about the incidents, while the children have been briefed on appropriate measures to keep themselves safe.

For example, Tanglin Trust School advised parents that "students should not walk alone in the vicinity of the school but walk with friends".

A UWC spokesman said the school also informed schools in the area and other international schools.

One international school here, Dulwich College, has alerted parents following the two incidents.

In a letter sent out on Wednesday (Jan 17), the school added: “We are indeed blessed to live in a country which is regarded as one of the safest in the world. However, low crime does not mean no crime and we urge you and your children to be vigilant, now and always.”

High school students from UWC said the school informed them briefly of the incident during an assembly on Monday (Jan 15) and told them to walk away and inform an adult if a stranger approaches them.

A 15-year-old UWC student, who only wanted to be known as H.D., said the school has always taught its students what to do when approached by strangers like in the recent cases. "We're aware enough not to get into a stranger's vehicle. It's common sense," she said.

The police are appealing to the public not to speculate on the cases as investigations are ongoing.

Read the full story on The Straits Times.

The Straits Times

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