On the trail of new notes for CNY, Consumer News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

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As the sky was still dark, most of Singapore was asleep, and a small group of auxiliary police gathered in the dim room, as expected.

At 3 AM, you will hear a ping sound, indicating that the daily schedule has been entered.

When personnel map routes and locations, allocate vehicles and inventory, and send tasks to ground personnel, a series of activities fills the room.

Before the Lunar New Year, the Aetos Command Center on West Coast Road supervised the deployment of more than 150 personnel on the island every day.

The officials were divided into more than 30 teams and were responsible for replenishing new banknotes at 61 DBS bank pop-up automated teller machines (ATMs) in 41 locations.

This is the basis for more than 1,000 regular DBS ATMs that Aetos handles every day.

The team must collect the boxes containing the new banknotes from the cash processing center and place them in the vault of the special vehicle before heading to the location of the day.

The 73-year-old Deputy Superintendent Habhajan Singh, the commander of the Aetos Echo Command, said that the work started after receiving the daily schedule from DBS every morning.

The command center will handle this before telling Aetos personnel where they will be deployed and how much cash they will replenish.

These officials had received specialized training in the handling of cash and valuables before they were allowed to deploy.

DSP Habhajan said: "The vaults of these vehicles can only be entered by one person at a time, using the keys and one-time codes provided after confirmation with the command center."

He added: “The vehicle is tracked in real time via GPS, and the double-locking process ensures that the vehicle and cash are correctly locked.”

In addition, real-time in-vehicle video streaming is provided to ensure strict compliance with the process.

Due to Covid-19, the number of DBS pop-up ATMs has increased-from 41 machines in 20 locations last year to 61 machines in 41 locations this year.

DSP Habhajan said that this requires more coordination.

There are approximately five cash boxes per machine, although in some locations such as Clementi, there are up to nine cash boxes per machine to better meet demand.

Aetos officials declined to disclose the amount of cash in each cartridge, but said that each cartridge weighs nearly 10 kilograms when it is full.

The ink cartridge has a special security function that prevents tampering and is used for tracking.

Pop-up machines are replenished twice a day on average.

The 26-year-old corporal Seet Chun Kit, an Aetos supply officer, said that if there are no technical difficulties, it will take about 10 minutes to supply the machine on site.

He said: "But sometimes there will be machine failures, and it may take up to half an hour to troubleshoot." "Sometimes we find passbooks and cards stuck in them, but we don't allow them to be sent back to customers because verification must be done. Completed by DBS Bank."

It was reported last week that in the queue formed before the Lunar New Year, which was mainly composed of elderly people, the expected waiting time was more than two hours in 21 of the 41 locations.

Despite the efforts of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, it still urges the public to use digital banking services and switch to e-hongbao.

Cpl Seet said that officials are aware of the long queues and have been working hard to minimize downtime so that Singaporeans can quickly get new notes before the Chinese New Year.

However, this Wednesday will be an exception. This is Li Chun's auspicious day. People in Singapore will deposit money into their accounts at different times according to their zodiac signs. They think this will ensure good luck for a year.

Aetos personnel must replace the full-edge ink cartridge, not fill the empty ink cartridge.

Cpl Seet explained that when the ink cartridges are full, the machine will stop using, and personnel must quickly replace the ink cartridges.

He said: "This is the opposite situation, and the operating room will have to deploy us quickly at different times."

"Despite the pandemic, we still see people doing the same things as in previous years. I think Li Chun this year is no exception."

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