MRT graffiti read: 'Jet Setter's'

By Joy Fang

GRAFFITI found on a north-bound MRT train on Wednesday morning is believed to have read: “Jet Setter’s”.

my paper understands that the words were spray-painted in blue on one side of a train carriage . It is said to have measured between 8m and 9m in length and 1m in height.

The train, which had been parked at SMRT’s Bishan depot, had already been plying its route when a train officer discovered the graffiti.

When my paper was at the 6km perimeter of the depot yesterday, 18 segments of brightgreen wire fencing were spotted, interspersed with worn-out segments, at a 500m stretch along the canal off Bishan Road.

It is believed that the depot was breached there, a few metres away from where the trains were parked.

At least 25 closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras were spotted on the top or sides of the depot buildings, but only about three were visible within the parking bays.

Investigations are ongoing and no one has been arrested yet. It is not known if the tresspass and vandalism was done by one or more individuals. SMRT said in a statement yesterday that it has intensified patrols at all its depots. SMRT has four depots – in Bishan, Changi, Ulu Pandan and Kim Chuan.

The spokesman added: “We have instructed our premises managers to increase their spot checks at the premises, and ensure all security personnel are performing their duties properly.”

Preliminary findings point to the “likelihood of human failure”.

In October last year, the transport operator agreed with and implemented recommendations by the Public Transport Security Committee on a fence-intrusion system for all its train depots.

The system was to be complemented with steel-welded mesh fencing, additional CCTVs and lighting along the perimeter fencing. This is being done to reduce reliance on manned patrols, and to have round-theclock monitoring.

These measures were being implemented progressively, said SMRT, but had yet to be carried out at the Bishan depot. In May last year, two men broke into SMRT’s Changi depot, cutting through the fence and spray-painting graffiti on the side of a parked MRT train.

Swiss national Oliver Fricker was later sentenced to seven months’ jail and three strokes of the cane for trespassing and vandalism, but spent less than five months in prison on account of good behaviour. His alleged Briton accomplice, Dane Alexander Lloyd, is still at large.

For its lapse, SMRT was fined the maximum of $50,000 by the Land Transport Authority. Security experts said that the second incident heightens the need for a complete plan to protect depots from terror threats. Dr Kumar Ramakrishna, head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said: “If relatively unsophisticated vandals seeking thrills can gain unauthorised access to our trains, trained and determined terrorists with far sinister aims could do so as well.”

Calling the latest incident “disappointing”, he added that Singapore remains an “iconic” terrorist target.

Mr Sathyaraj Rengaraju, a training and compliance manager in security firm Pico Guards, said that SMRT needs to ensure that the three crucial layers of security are in place: making physical security barriers such as fences tamper-proof, having more CCTVs and a larger number of alert security officers to increase vigilance.

joyfang@sph.com.sg

ADDITIONAL REPORTING
BY DAVID LIM


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