Residents, hotel staff, and guests near a construction site on Jiak Kim Street were evacuated this morning as authorities conducted a “controlled” detonation of a WWII-era bomb unearthed there.
Singapore’s bomb squad went to work disposing of the 50-kilogram bomb, which was only found last week at the site of the former Zouk nightclub. Once famous for its techno-house parties and retro “Mambo Jambo” nights, the area around Zouk is being developed into a condominium.
“The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team has determined that the war relic is a 50kg World War II aerial bomb, and assessed that it is unsafe to move the war relic. Therefore, it has to be disposed on-site,” police wrote in a Facebook statement on Saturday. The bomb squad was expected to spend until 6pm disposing of the bomb.
Until then, residents from nearby condominiums Mirage Tower, Tribeca by the Waterfront, and Rivergate, as well as staff and guests at the Grand Copthorne Hotel will remain evacuated.
Recent reports emerging from the area said the ground could be felt shaking, and photos showed smoke rising from the scene.
A 200-meter cordon around the unexploded bomb has been set up by the police, closing traffic along Kim Seng Road and Jiak Kim Street, as well as a portion of the Singapore River between Robinson Bridge and Kim Seng Bridge.
Drone activities have also been prohibited from the area, and any vehicles parked within the restricted areas will be towed away, police announced.
World War II began for Singapore when 17 Japanese bombers attacked the city just before dawn on Dec. 8, 1941, just as it was attacking Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, and invading neighboring countries, including Thailand.
In 1944 and 1945, the Allies launched a bombing campaign and conducted at least 11 sorties against naval facilities and docks in Japan-occupied Singapore.
The type of bomb found at the former Zouk site was not specified, but unexploded WWII-era bombs do occasionally turn up throughout the region, including in cities such as Bangkok and Hong Kong.
The police will post updates on their social media platforms when the roads and the section of the river reopen to the public.
“Loud sounds can be expected during the controlled disposal of the war relic. The public is advised not to be alarmed and to avoid the area,” the police said.
“The Police are working closely with the relevant authorities and the SAF EOD team to ensure that the controlled disposal of the war relic will be carried out safely and with minimal inconvenience to the public. Members of the public should cooperate with police officers deployed on the ground.”
Meanwhile, those who used to go to the old Zouk can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that they had been partying near a bomb this whole time.
“So there’s been a WW2 bomb discovered at Jiak Kim street and all I can think of is how all those years WE WERE PARTYING METERS AWAY FROM AN UNEXPLODED BOMB??” Twitter user @Megnificence wrote.
“Those of us who have been at Zouk partying should thank God and our lucky stars,” wrote another.
Zouk moved to Clarke Quay in 2016, nearly 30 years of it originally opened at Jiak Kim Street.