Marsiling man slashes neighbours, then dies in burning flat
For years, he had terrorised his neighbours with his abusive and aggressive behaviour.
Mr William Teo, a 51-year-old resident in the Marsiling block, said: "He was not someone you could offend in any way.
"When he started nagging at you, they were all bad words and his tone of voice was very loud.
"People could not take it."
Yesterday, the man turned violent and slashed two neighbours, leaving one bleeding profusely.
He went to the third storey where he slashed a man with a chopper. When a female resident tried to intervene, he slashed her as well.
Shortly after the attacks, the man was found dead inside his burning flat on the eighth storey.
The police were alerted to the incidents at Block 4, Marsiling Road at about 5pm, while the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was notified about the fire at 5.20pm.
The injured man was identified as Mr Abdul Majid Maarof, 62, a cleaner, by his wife, Madam Safiah Saidi, 56, also a cleaner.
She told The New Paper that she had just returned home from work when the incident happened.
She was having dinner in the kitchen while her husband was repairing his bicycle outside their flat when he suddenly shouted for her.
"When I came out, I saw the man attacking my husband. He slashed him many times," she said.
"When I pushed the man, he came after me. He wanted to chop me but the chopper broke in half."
Mr Abdul Majid took the opportunity to flee.
Madam Safiah said: "Then the man took out a knife from his pocket and tried to stab me. But I managed to push his hand away.
"I grabbed my grandson's hand and we ran away."
Just then, a 60-year-old woman, who is a volunteer and a resident in the block, tried to intervene, which provoked the man to turn his aggression towards her.
Mr Teo, who is also a volunteer, said the woman, known as Mei Che by the residents, was slashed on the face.
"The attacker told her, 'You have a bad mouth,' before slashing her," he added.
Mr Teo said that Mr Abdul Majid's daughter was shouting for help in Malay and her cries alerted about five residents who came rushed to help.
By then, the assailant had run off. They dialled 999 for the police and SCDF.
"There was blood splattered all over the floor," Mr Teo said.
The injured Mr Abdul Majid had by then managed to run down the stairs to the second storey where he dashed into a neighbour's flat to hide.
In his hurry to protect himself from his attacker, he inadvertently locked the unit's owner, Madam Asiah, 62, outside.
Her daughter, who wanted to be known only as Ms Sue, said she was visiting her mother and was inside the unit with her two sons, aged one and five, when Mr Abdul Majid ran in.
The woman, who is in her early 30s, said: "He ran into my mother's flat because the front door was open.
"He asked me to call the police. He said he would not leave until the police arrived."
She said she was scared and worried for the safety of her children.
"I was afraid the attacker would come to my mum's home. But he never did," she said, adding that Mr Abdul Majid was bleeding badly from his lower arm, palm and legs.
"I passed him a towel to wrap his hand. He wrapped only his palm and blood was still dripping from his lower arm. He looked pale and was in pain."
Ms Sue said her mother then went to seek help from other neighbours.
Mr Teo, who also saw Mr Abdul Majid, said: "He looked very fragile. He was very badly injured."
The reason for the attacks were not clear, but Mr Teo believed they could have something to do with the victims having disputes with the attacker, a rag-and-bone man who would sell his wares at the void deck of the block.
The police said the injured victims were taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Not long after, a fire broke out at an eighth-storey unit, which the residents said belonged to the attacker.
The cause of the fire is not known, but residents believed the man could have started the fire after fleeing to his unit following the attacks.
The police said a 58-year-old man, believed to have been involved in the earlier dispute, was found motionless inside the unit by SCDF personnel and pronounced dead at 5.59pm.
Two knives were seized as exhibits and investigations are ongoing.
The SCDF said it sent a fire engine, two Red Rhinos, two fire bikes, a support vehicle and two ambulances to the scene.
Its spokesman said the fire involved contents of a living room and was extinguished with a single water jet.
The firefighters had to force open the main door to gain access into the unit. The man was found near the toilet.
The cause of fire is under investigation.
Attacker was aggressive rag-and-bone man
Just two days ago, Mr Abdul Majid Maarof had kicked a teddy bear that his attacker had been trying to sell at the void deck of the block, said Mr William Teo.
"They were both not on talking terms," said the resident-volunteer in the block which consists mostly of one-room rental flats.
Mr Teo added that the dead man was a rag-and-bone man who would collect discarded items and sell them at the void deck.
He said that residents did not know his name but would call him "Gemuk" (fat in Malay) because of his large size.
Gemuk used to share his rental flat with a co-tenant, but had lived alone for a number of years.
"Residents in the block sometimes bought from him, especially if they needed the item, such as a fridge or a cupboard. Recently, he displayed a fish tank," said Mr Teo, who is unemployed.
"People from the town council have asked him to clear his wares because the void deck was not a commercial area."
Mr Teo added that Mei Che, the injured woman, told him that Gemuk "thought she was the one who had reported him" to the authorities.
"About two weeks ago, he scolded her using vulgarities. Then, about two to three days ago, he said sorry to her in the lift but she didn't want to answer him."
Mr Teo said residents were put off by the abusive language and aggressive behaviour of the dead man, who had lived there for more than 10 years.
"It is irritating to see people behave like this. It was irritating when we saw him scold people, especially old people, using abusive language."
Mr Teo, who helps to distribute packets of cooked food to the residents in the one-room rental flats, said he was afraid of Gemuk.
He said: "He would collect three packets of rice every day. He had threatened me before, about two to three years ago, but I let it go."
Another resident, Madam Jainab Awang, 65, a cook, said Gemuk was "always drunk".
A resident, who declined to be identified, said he had heard about the dead man being involved in fights.
Mr Teo said Gemuk had punched someone and injured him about three months ago. And about a month ago, he fought with someone at a nearby block but no one was injured.