Travelling on bus? Beware of bed bugs

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

SINGAPORE, Dec 28 — Shafiq Harun, 21, was returning from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore on a Starmart Express coach bus on Boxing Day evening when he, along with the other passengers on the bus, made a horrific discovery.

Some 40 minutes into the journey, Shafiq felt the back of his neck starting to itch. Presuming it was a mosquito bite, he did not give it much thought. But his neck started to swell, then the itch went over to his hands and body.

“I thought it was only me and I thought I had an allergic reaction, but I don’t have allergies,” Shafiq told TODAY today.

As it turned out, he had been bitten by bed bugs. And he was not alone; most of the 25 passengers on board had suffered similar bites too.

“We caught quite a number (of bed bugs) on the seats, floors, bags, and our body,” Shafiq said, adding that it was a “chaotic” journey back to Singapore.

Shafiq also said the bus driver had told them the bus he was on was a “standby bus”, which was not used for around two weeks.

Shafiq’s cousin, who was travelling with him, has lodged a complaint, as well as a refund request, against the bus company.

A Facebook user by the name of Hannah Zekie also posted on the social networking site pictures of the bed bug bites, and her post has since been shared over 9,000 times as of 3pm today.

On Facebook, she said that she had caught over 10 bugs, and is demanding for a total fare refund.

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Responding to the furore surrounding the issue, Starmart Express posted on Facebook on Tuesday that the coach in question has since been taken off service, and been given a chemical wash.

The company will also be investigating the issue, and has said that passengers of the affected bus can approach them for recourse.

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