Man robs Standard Chartered bank in Holland Village
In a rare robbery, a man, believed to be a Caucasian, walked into a bank at bustling Holland Village yesterday morning and escaped on foot with thousands of dollars.
Scant details have emerged on how he pulled off the robbery at the Standard Chartered bank at Holland Avenue at around 11.25am, but a police spokesman said he was not armed with a weapon, and no one was hurt.
The robber is understood to have slipped a piece of paper demanding money to a cashier.
The bank employees, fearing for their safety, handed over a stack of notes, reported Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News yesterday.
The robber is believed to have fled on foot across the road towards Chip Bee Gardens.
The Straits Times (ST) said in an online report it understood that the robber escaped with about $30,000 in cash.
A resident told ST the police were asking people if they had seen anyone matching "a photo of a Caucasian man, who was wearing a grey hoodie and mustard pants".
Confirming the incident, the police said investigations are underway.
A customer at the Citibank branch next door told ST she saw as many as 10 police cars and two police vans around noon.
Police officers, some in bulletproof vests and equipped with shields, cordoned off the area in front of the bank and were seen patrolling the neighbourhood.
Some of them approached nearby shops to ask for their closed-circuit television footage.
Officers in plainclothes were also seen checking the dustbins of houses in Chip Bee Gardens.
TNP understands that operations to hunt down the suspect were still going on yesterday evening.
The robbery took place so quietly and quickly that store owners nearby had no idea what had happened until the police arrived.
Miss Jasmine Tan, 31, who works at The Body Shop store, four lots from the bank, said: "I knew something had happened only when I saw officers wearing bulletproof vests running past our shop."
The owner of Khiam Teck convenience store, two shops from StanChart, said it was like any other day until he saw a group of officers.
Wanting to be known only as Mr Ang, the 67-year-old said: "I saw a female officer running past my shop towards the bank.
"Not long after, I saw her running back in the other direction, but I couldn't step out to see what was going on because I had to man my shop.
"I didn't hear anything. There was no shouting or screaming."
A StanChart spokesman said in a statement that all its employees and customers are safe and that the branch would be temporarily closed for police investigations.
"We would like to highlight that the safety of our customers and staff are our top priority and our branch staff are all well-trained to react to such situations," the spokesman said.
Bank robberies are rare in Singapore, with the last reported attempt in November 2008, when a man tried to rob the United Overseas Bank at City Plaza by threatening a teller that he had a "bomb" in a paper bag.
He was arrested after bank employees restrained him.