SINGAPORE, Sept 20 — Education centre Speech Academy Asia has apologised to parents and called off what it described as “roadshows”, shortly after the police said today that they were probing incidents where persons dressed as clowns allegedly approached children at primary schools.
Referring to news of a promoter dressed as a clown outside various primary schools, Speech Academy Asia said in an Instagram post: “We would like to extend our sincere apologies for the cause of concern over the safety of your children.”
The centre confirmed that the promoter was its employee but said its team does not offer “any form of monetary rewards for children to follow them”.
One Facebook user claimed that a stranger dressed as a clown had approached her daughter outside a primary school in Tampines and offered her money to follow him.
Speech Academy Asia added that its promoters “strictly do not take any children out of the vicinity”.
“We truly understand your concern for the safety of your children. Hence, we will be putting an immediate stop to our roadshows,” it added.
Speaking to TODAY, Kelvin Tan, director of Speech Academy Asia, said that its marketing campaign began several weeks ago.
“Because of the (Covid-19) situation, not many people are coming out anymore, so the promotional team came up with an idea for the promoters to head outside the schools instead,” he said.
When asked how the idea of dressing up as a clown came about, Tan said that it was up to the promoter to choose his own get-up.
“It could range from an elephant to a cute bunny, just something to get kids to like it. We didn’t realise the clown mascot was so scary,” said Tan, who added that there was only one promoter dressed as a clown.
“We are truly sorry. We didn’t know it would spin off to such an extent. We just purely wanted to get more parents’ support (for our classes),” he said.
The police earlier said that they were verifying the facts with an education centre on their alleged involvement in the incidents. The centre was not named.
Multiple police reports had been lodged, added the police. They advised the public to stay away from strangers and to report any suspicious persons or activities to the police.
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin took to Facebook today, sharing a partial screenshot of a letter from a primary school notifying parents that the police had been alerted to “persons dressed as clowns seen loitering around primary schools and requesting them to follow them”.
He also posted a picture of a man dressed as a clown outside what appeared to be a school near Bedok South. — TODAY