Woodleigh MRT flour scare: Local running group apologises for causing security scare

By Adeline Tan and Julia Tan
The New Paper
Apr 20, 2017

The running group that was involved in the closure of Woodleigh MRT station for about three hours on Tuesday has apologised and said directional signs should have been used instead of flour to mark their route.

Three members from Seletar Hash House Harriers (SH3) had used flour to lay a trail near the station for an evening run. A 69-year-old man was arrested and two others were hauled up by the police to assist in investigations.

In hashing, advance runners set a course for other runners by marking out a trail with white flour, toilet paper or chalk.

The three men left flour at three to four points at the station. A cleaner found the flour markings, and the authorities were alerted, which led to the station's closure for security checks.

In a media statement yesterday, an SH3 spokesman said: "In retrospect, they should not have placed any markings in the station, and should have used directional signs instead outside the station."

The group said they chose to go through the station as it was the safest route for their members to cross Upper Serangoon Road. As part of their run, members had to go from Bidadari to Woodleigh Close.

They also said the three members involved stepped forward to identify themselves on learning about the investigations and had cooperated with the police.

The spokesman added: "They are sorry that their actions caused public alarm and inconvenience.

"The incident has emphasised to our group the seriousness of the security threat in Singapore and we pledge to be more mindful when planning future runs. We will be reminding all our members to be more careful in future."

There are around 100 members in the group, which has been around since 1980. They organise weekly cross-country runs for their members.

Other hash groups TNP contacted said they use chalk, flour and toilet paper to mark their trails.

In city areas, chalk and flour are commonly used because toilet paper might be mistaken for litter or get blown away.

Mr Charles Corrigan, vice-president of the Singapore Sunday Hash House Harriers, said: "Chalk is good because it gets washed away easily."

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