News

The weird stuff lost & found in S'pore: Pet dogs, live crabs, wedding gowns, dentures and crutches!

His cleaning staff came rushing out of one of the cinemas at Golden Village Suntec City.

They looked frantically for Mr Bernard Soh, 35, the operations manager.

"There's something moving in the dark," they reported, nearly out of breath.

His first thought - rats.

Armed with aluminium tongs and torchlights, he led "an assault team" into the theatre, which was already empty as the movie had ended.

Within minutes of the lights being turned on, he spotted a moving shadow under the rows of red-coloured seats.

It was no rat. It was a live Sri Lankan crab.

A few rows away, they found a supermarket plastic bag containing another five live crabs, still tied up with raffia string.

Says Mr Soh: "We went around picking up all the crabs. Don't ask me why people want to bring live crabs to a cinema."

It is just one of many unusual experiences that he has had dealing with lost-and-found items for nearly a decade.

People tend to lose their items during the holiday season, Mr Soh says.

Phones, wallets, purses and umbrellas are high up on the list of things that people leave behind.

But there are stranger items that have been left behind.

"We've found things like amulets, hell banknotes and voodoo dolls," he recalls.

He is bewildered by the many instances of schoolchildren leaving behind their schoolbags, complete with textbooks and stationery.

"Many schoolbags go unclaimed. I have no idea how they go to school the next day."

Big-ticket items have also been found in taxis.

Last August, a Comfort taxi driver returned $43,400 cash and in November, a CityCab driver returned $18,000 to a cancer patient.

Says ComfortDelgro's group corporate communications officer Tammy Tan: "Unclaimed items and cash are kept for three months before they are donated to charities such as the Singapore Red Cross Society and CabbyCare Charity Group."

CabbyCare Charity Group helps the less fortunate and is active in community projects.

In Golden Village's case, its staff will attempt to contact the owner if any identification is present. The items will be locked up in a wooden lost-and-found cabinet in the office for three months.

If still unclaimed, credit cards will be cut in half, gadgets will be destroyed to wipe out the data inside and other general items will be donated to the Salvation Army, says Mr Soh.

What about the crabs?

Says the manager, with a chuckle: "Oh, no one came back for them. We passed them on to the mall staff to keep for three months.

"Whether they cooked the crabs or not, you'll have to ask them."


BY THE NUMBERS

700

Average number of lost items recovered from all Golden Village cinemas each year

115,000

Number of police reports for lost 
items last year

31,000

Number of police reports for 
found items last year

80,000

Number of items found in taxis, buses and trains run by SMRT and 
ComfortDelgro in 2012

$1.1 million in cash

Biggest value item found in a ComfortDelgro taxi


STRANGE ITEMS

At Golden Village cinemas:

Sri Lankan crabs

Hell banknotes

Voodoo doll

In ComfortDelgro taxis:

5kg gold bars, worth $377,000*

Rabbits*

Dogs*

Wedding gowns

Dentures

Crutches