Corrosive liquids left on public transport seats: Cases could be linked

SINGAPORE - A nurse on Thursday suffered burns on her left buttock after sitting on an unknown substance in a public area - the second such incident in two weeks.

Ms Wan Zahfirah Arshad, 24, was on a north-bound SMRT train heading towards Jurong East at 11am when she sat on what could have been acid.

After alighting, she experienced an unbearable tingling sensation and noticed a yellow substance on her clothes.

A spokesman for the Singapore General Hospital confirmed that she is currently warded at the hospital for 3 per cent burns.

SMRT, expressing shock at the incident, lodged a police report after speaking with the passenger and ensuring that she is well taken care of.

The police confirmed they were informed "of an unknown substance found on a train and a woman who had sought medical consultation in relation to the case".

Investigations are ongoing.

On April 17, School of Science and Technology student Aung Phone Naing, 14, suffered second-degree burns on his right thigh after sitting on a "transparent liquid" at a bus stop along Bukit Batok East Avenue 3.

The Singapore permanent resident, who is from Myanmar, went to the National University Hospital but tests failed to identify what he sat on.The recent cases of people getting burnt by corrosive chemicals at public areas could be connected.

People burnt by unknown substances: Cases could be linked

People burnt by unknown substances: Cases could be linked, say police

The police told The Straits Times on Friday night that they are investigating the cases, and are not "ruling out the possibility" of them being linked.

In the past two weeks, there have been two such incidents. On Thursday, a 24-year old nurse, Ms Wan Zahfirah Arshad, had her left buttock burnt by a corrosive substance on a train seat. She has been treated at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and the spokesman said her condition is stable.

On April 17, School of Science and Technology student Aung Phone Naing, 14, suffered second-degree burns on his right thigh after sitting on a "transparent liquid" at a bus stop along Bukit Batok East Avenue 3.

Although his wound is healing, the incident has shaken him. These days, he no longer sits down while waiting at that bus stop. "It's partly because I'm worried," he said.

The Commander of Jurong Police Division, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Wilson Lim, said: "Police are determined to bring the perpetrators to justice".


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Warning: Don't use water to wash away acid

Warnings

Shin Min Daily News reported that a 21-year-old Clementi resident (who asked not to be named) has been sending out mobile phone text messages to friends, reminding them to be careful when taking the subway.

Parenting magazine "The Asian Parent" has also publishing an article advising parents to educate their children that if they see liquid left on a seat, it's best not to sit on it.

National Skin Center dermatology consultant Dr He Jingjing also told the Chinese daily that while it's an instinctive response of those who come into contact with acidic substances to wash the area with ice water, it's not ideal to do so.

She said that it's fine to use water, but people should not use ice water or ice cubes against the wound because it may cause more harm.

In addition, she also advised the public not to smear toothpaste, butter, honey, medicinal oils and other remedies on the wound.

"A lot of people may mistakenly think that they should use alkaline substances to neutralize the acid, but this may in fact be counterproductive, because the resulting reaction may generate heat, increasing the damage to the skin," she said.

Additional information by YourHealth, AsiaOne.

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