Police, ICA crack down on illegal immigrants hiding in factories, drains, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Police, ICA crack down on illegal immigrants hiding in factories, drains

The authorities are clamping down on criminal activities taking place in vacant buildings in industrial areas, including premises that have been used by illegal immigrants as hideouts.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Dec 5 conducted an operation, with assistance from JTC Corporation, to flush out unauthorised individuals, including illegal immigrants, in the Sungei Kadut industrial estate area.

The media was allowed to visit the sites after law enforcement officers completed their search of the premises.

No one was arrested during the operation, but officers found a range of items that suggested one vacant building in the area was used as a drug den, and a concealed drain measuring about 90cm wide and 2m high was used as a hideout.

The drain sits about 100m from a two-storey building which previously housed factories. The building is surrounded by a fence and locked gates, but the drain was accessible through a metal manhole cover.

Metal steps inside the drain led The Straits Times into a labyrinth of dark passages. About 10m in, ST spotted damp clothes hanging on a nylon string and a single mattress on a makeshift bed comprising wooden planks.

Police officers opening a drain cover around the Sungei Kadut Industrial Estate area during the operation.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

There were empty plastic bottles and a small medicine vial on the bed.

Plastic bags and pieces of cloth were stuffed into several plastic pipes nearby, likely to prevent water from seeping into the drain.


ST spotted more clothing items hung up to dry in the first 80m from the manhole. There were also duffel bags and a bicycle without a wheel.

The stale, foul smell in the drain was inescapable.

Above ground, the vacant factory building nearby also showed signs that illegal immigrants could have hidden there.

Inside there were cigarette butts, beer cans and tissue paper littered on the ground. The occupants had carved large holes in the walls, presumably for a quick getaway during a raid.

During the operation, police also activated their K-9 unit and an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, to search the area for individuals who may have been in hiding.

There were signs in another vacant building nearby that suggested it had been used as a drug den. Police officers found suspected controlled drugs, drug paraphernalia and also knives. The drug case has been referred to the Central Narcotics Bureau.

It is illegal to enter waterways, such as drains, without approval and offenders may be fined up to $3,000. Those found guilty of wilful trespass on property may face a fine of up to $1,000.