Singapore

26 youths in Boys' Home arrested over unruly behaviour

The events on Monday night were the worst his family had experienced this year.

There had been occasional disturbances in the past.

But the father of two primary school children said the noise coming from the Singapore Boys' Home (SBH) two nights ago kept his family awake for a few hours.

The 35-year-old accountant, who declined to be named, told The New Paper yesterday: "I couldn't see what was happening inside SBH but it was definitely serious and loud.

"The shouting of vulgarities and banging sounds went on for a few hours. The shouting stopped briefly and started all over again, several times into the morning.

"It sounded as if there were different groups of boys doing the shouting."

As it turned out, 26 residents at the Singapore Boys' Home were arrested for unlawful assembly on Tuesday morning.

SBH is a juvenile residential home in Jurong run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

It houses at-risk young people aged between 12 and 21 who might also have got into trouble with the law.

TNP understands the 26 residents involved were unhappy with issues at the Home and created a ruckus by throwing items out of windows.

The reason behind their unhappiness with the Home is not known.

The accountant, who lives in a nearby block of flats, had called TNP yesterday to share what residents living close to SBH had experienced.

The man said: "The school term has started, and I hope something can be done at SBH because my children will not get their rest if this happens again."

While on his way to work yesterday morning, the accountant said he saw a red riot police vehicle parked in front of SBH.

When TNP contacted St Joseph's Canossian Convent, located next to SBH, a spokesman said it had temporarily moved to Mandai due to renovation works and was unable to comment about the incident.

A police spokesman told TNP they received a call requesting for assistance at around midnight. No one was injured and the police are investigating the incident.

An MSF spokesman confirmed the incident with The New Paper yesterday.

The spokesman said: "An incident involving unruly behaviour occurred in the Singapore Boys' Home at 11pm on Sept 19 which required the involvement of the police."

He added MSF had taken steps to ensure the well-being of SBH residents and were assisting the police with investigations.

MSF did not address questions about the cause of the incident.

Last year, there were 215 boys admitted to the Home.

It is gazetted as a Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre for youth offenders dealt with by the Youth Court, which deals with offenders below 16 years old.

The Home is designated a Place of Safety for those admitted on a Beyond Parental Control Order, a Child Protection Order, or under the Women's Charter.

According to the MSF's website, the youths go through structured routines and programmes for their development, such as academic or vocational training, recreational activities and community service.

PREVIOUS INCIDENTS

This was not the first trouble at the Singapore Boys' Home.

In December 1997, about 75 police officers were called in to break up a fight between two groups of boys at the Home, which was then located at Clementi.

It was sparked off by a dispute between two boys and escalated when the other boys joined in and began exchanging punches and throwing chairs and plastic cups at one another.

The officers involved included a Special Operations Command task force, two police dog teams and policemen from Clementi Police Station.

A total of 14 boys were taken to hospital for minor injuries.

Earlier that year, a 15-year-old inmate was injured and hospitalised after a fight with two others.

Days before that incident, six teenagers broke out of the Home after beating up a 50-year-old security guard and forcing a female staff member to open the gate.

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