11 people helping with police probe after harmless white substances found at two religious centres, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

11 people helping with police probe after harmless white substances found at two religious centres

Two men and nine women, aged 49 to 67, are assisting police investigations after white substances were found at two separate religious centres – one on Tuesday and the other on Wednesday.

Occupants of the Catholic Centre in Waterloo Street were evacuated from the nine-storey building on Wednesday morning after an unidentified substance was found sprayed around its perimeter.

A similar incident occurred on Tuesday when the police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were called upon to investigate after a white substance was found at the Bible House in Armenian Street.

The substances at both locations were later found to be harmless.

On Wednesday night, the police said that at about 9.45am, they were “alerted to a case of white substance found at a location along Waterloo Street”.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the incident is linked to Tuesday’s incident in Armenian Street, said the police.

SCDF said earlier on Wednesday that the incident at 55 Waterloo Street – the Catholic Centre’s address – was reported at about 9.55am, and that officers found “some white substance” upon arrival.

Dark streaks and patches seen along one side of the Catholic Centre on Jan 18, 2023. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

The agency added that its hazardous materials specialists donned personal protective equipment to retrieve samples and conducted several tests.

No harmful substances were detected, it said.

A staff member, who works in the Catholic Centre and declined to be named, said he saw the substance in the foyer when he arrived for work at about 9am.

Suspecting that it might be an oil spill from a vehicle, he did not think much of it and proceeded to his office as usual. At about 10.30am, all of the building’s occupants were evacuated after SCDF officers arrived, he said.

The staff member added that no one had indicated feeling unwell when asked by SCDF officers.

After the checks by SCDF and police officers were made, the occupants were allowed to re-enter the centre at about 12.20pm.

Service at Crossings Cafe, located on the building’s first floor, was allowed to proceed as normal.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore confirmed that it had made a police report on the incident.

“We understand that the police and the SCDF are investigating the report made at the Catholic Centre in Waterloo Street this morning,” said the spokesman, who added that the archdiocese is “unable to make a statement at this time”.

When ST arrived at the centre at 12.25pm, only one SCDF vehicle remained on site. Markings were seen on the walls of two sides of the building. Dark stains were also seen in the building’s foyer.

Police said on Tuesday that at about 11.40am that day, a case of “white substance found at a location along Armenian Street” was reported.

The SCDF was called in to investigate, it took a sample of the substance and the tests did not detect harmful substances.

Both incidents are under investigation.