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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Daily checks for safer checkpoints

LEAKING hydraulic fluid had caused a barrier at the Woodlands Checkpoint to fail, allowing a man to crash through it in March.

To ensure that the barriers function properly, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority will replace all hydraulic components in its security barriers, and will also now conduct daily checks on them, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday in Parliament.

He was responding to questions by MPs Hri Kumar (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) and Zaqy Mohamed (Chua Chu Kang GRC), who asked about what was being done to prevent checkpoint breaches at Woodlands after two incidents in the past few months.

In March, a 64-year-old Singapore permanent resident drove his car over a security barrier at the checkpoint.

Two months earlier, a Malaysian teacher tailgated another car, avoiding the detection of officers to cross the border.

Teo revealed yesterday that during the March 8 incident, the hydraulic fluid had leaked from one of the cylinder seals for raising and maintaining the position of the security barrier.

This is why it failed to stop the Malaysian from driving his car through the barrier after being stopped for a boot check.

The man, Tan Chu Seng, has since been charged for committing a rash act and vandalism. He is said to have damaged the cat-claw security barrier during the incident.

Teo said yesterday that the barriers are checked every three months, and had just been serviced on Feb 18 this year.

Since the incident, the ICA has also put in place other measures to strengthen security at Woodlands Checkpoint, including tightening the coordination between ICA and the Police and deploying mobile crash barriers. Tracking vehicles will also be added, to stop cars from fleeing if they manage to breach the barriers, said Teo.

By the middle of this year, all work permit and S-Pass holders will be automatically enrolled on ICA’s automated clearance systems, making 95% of all Malaysian motorcycle trips eligible for automated clearance, said Teo. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network

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