Elderly man who tried to pick up girl from childcare centre had 'no malicious intent'

PHOTO: Facebook/Maplebear Havelock

SINGAPORE - An elderly man who had been investigated for picking up a child who was not related to him from a childcare centre in Tiong Bahru was innocent.

On Tuesday (Dec 18), Tiong Bahru Village, a community page, had said in a Facebook post that an elderly man had tried to pick up a four-year-old girl from Maple Bear childcare centre along Havelock Road.

A report was lodged and the incident was being investigated, the authorities said in a statement on Wednesday.

However, Tiong Bahru Village posted an update on Wednesday afternoon clarifying that the incident had been a "misunderstanding with no malicious intent", and praised the authorities for their "swift investigations".

The Straits Times understands that a miscommunication had occurred when the elderly man had tried to pick up his grandchild, who also attends the Maple Bear childcare centre along Havelock Road.

However, his grandchild had already been picked up by the family's maid.

In addition, the elderly man's English was not clear and the staff at the childcare thought that he was there to pick up another student instead, which led to the misunderstanding.

According to Tiong Bahru Village's earlier post, the elderly man had given the child's name to the childcare centre staff, but she did not recognise the elderly man and started crying. The girl did not leave with him.

**Update at 20th Dec 3pm** The Straits Times has updated that the elderly man told the school a name that was misheard...

Posted by Tiong Bahru Village onĀ Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"The police treat such incidents seriously," the authorities stated on Wednesday.

"At the same time, we urge members of the public not to speculate or spread unsubstantiated information which may generate unnecessary public alarm."

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.