A teenager allegedly stole a private bus in Woodlands for a six-hour joyride around the island on Sunday, covering at least 155km before being caught in Bukit Batok.
The suspect, believed to be 17 years old, allegedly stole the vehicle from a private bus depot at Woodlands Industrial Park E3 at 9am, evening daily Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.
He drove the 45-seater to Yishun, Ang Mo Kio, Whampoa, Telok Kurau, East Coast Park, Toa Payoh, Choa Chu Kang, Boon Lay, Soon Lee Road, Bukit Batok, Woodlands, Jurong East, Kian Teck Road and Corporation Road.
The bus' designated driver, Francis Toh, told Shin Min that he had meant to set off for Little India at 2pm that day when he discovered that the bus was missing. He immediately used GPS to locate it.
"The bus appeared at Kian Teck Road around the Jurong area, so my boss and I went in our cars to look for the missing bus," said Mr Toh.
He said that the suspect kept turning into small roads, making it difficult for them to follow. But they managed to cut the suspect off at a bus stop in Bukit Batok East Avenue 3, where he had stopped behind an SBS Transit bus.
It was then that they realised the suspect was a teenager. According to Shin Min, the youth resisted his captors for about 10 minutes before police arrived, even attempting to drive the bus away.
Mr Toh said he was surprised that the suspect knew how to drive the bus and seemed very familiar with how to operate it, including how to unlock its control system. He added that he had never seen the suspect before.
To drive a private bus, a person requires a Class 4 driver's licence and a vocational licence. Only those aged 21 and above are allowed to apply for a Class 4 licence.
Cynthia Yeo - general manager of AZ Bus, which owns the bus - told My Paper yesterday that some of its buses are already equipped with security cameras, and the company plans to add this feature to its entire fleet.
The police confirmed that they received a report at 3.43pm on Sunday, and have arrested a male suspect. Investigations are ongoing.
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