An unlabelled packet of white powder can seem very suspicious, and apparently, that’s exactly what caused staff at W Singapore at Sentosa Cove to call the cops on one of their guests earlier this month.
The incident first came to light when a Facebook user by the name of Stanley Paruntu took to Facebook to recount how his daughter’s birthday staycation had turned into a nightmare.
The teen, identified on her Instagram account as Sharonia Paruntu, later revealed more details about her encounter via Instagram Stories on Sunday (Nov 24).
In a statement released to Business Insider, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) confirmed that officers arrested a man and three women, aged between 18 and 19, at W Singapore on the morning of November 10.
SPF said it was “alerted to a packet of white powdery substance, suspected to be drugs” in a room occupied by the teens.
They were arrested on suspicion of possession and consumption of controlled drugs, SPF said.
However, the teens were released unconditionally at 1.43am the next day – over 16 hours after police were first alerted about the white powder – when preliminary testing revealed that the powder found was not a controlled drug.
Paruntu, who identifies herself as an Indonesian based in Singapore, said in her posts that after her release, W Hotel had initially charged her S$1,700 for the broken glass door. They later provided a refund. They also told her parents she had checked out of the hotel, when they first became concerned that the teen could not be contacted, she said.
Here’s the story of what happened, as told by Paruntu on her Instagram account:
The teen said in a series of Instagram Stories on Nov 24 that her friends had gotten stuck in the hotel bathroom. When a glass door broke as they struggled to get out, they called hotel staff for help.
They were then offered a change of rooms. “The hospitality is nice, actually,” Paruntu wrote. However, at around 10am, Paruntu was awoken by knocking on her room door.
Before she could open the door, two members of W Singapore’s staff entered with “seven to nine” police officers, she said. She claimed one of them told her that it was “just a random check”.
According to her, police officers asked if they knew why they were in the room, to which she responded: “Is it because of the glass door?”
The officers then told her they were alerted to a packet of white powder, which she explained was actually deodorant powder.
Unable to prove that it was not a controlled drug, Paruntu and her friends were arrested.
Paruntu said she was locked up for a total of 14 hours, and could not contact her parents. “I don’t want to share about what happened inside the jail, because it was really horrible,” she added.
Seeing that she was not contactable, Paruntu said her worried parents contacted W Singapore but her mother was told that she had already checked out.
But by the third call, W Singapore staff allegedly told the teen’s mother a different story, saying that she “never checked out”.
The day after she was released, Paruntu and her mother went back to W Singapore to collect her belongings and complain about the experience.
Despite apologising, the staff suddenly asked them to pay S$1,700 for the broken door, she said.
After the ordeal, Paruntu said she was for a time afraid to see police officers, but had since gotten over the fear.
W Singapore eventually provided a refund, but the teen’s parents have sought legal advice against the hotel, she said. However, she added that “W Hotel is too big” and questioned her ability to challenge them in a lawsuit.
Business Insider has reached out to W Singapore and Sharonia Paruntu for comment.
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