AMK residents evacuated 14 hours over police stand-off
Residents evacuated from homes during police stand-off with suspected drug offender
She was engrossed in a Korean drama on TV on Thursday night and didn't realise that just two doors away from her Ang Mo Kio flat, there was real-life drama unfolding.
The part-time office cleaner was startled when police knocked on her door at about 9pm
They told her to evacuate her unit because there was a gas leak and she was ushered to the void deck, said the woman, who is in her 60s and declined to be named.
"I was told that it was a small matter but we were only allowed back up the next day. When I saw so many policemen and firemen downstairs, I knew it wasn't as simple as that," she told The New Paper yesterday.
She was one of dozens of residents of Block 508, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, who had to stay away from their homes overnight as a suspected drug offender threatened to kill himself and his mother.
The stand-off, which lasted about 14 hours, stretched from Thursday nightuntil yesterday morning as police and emergency services acted to defuse the tension and arrest the man.
The drama started before 9pm when Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers knocked on the door of an eighth-storey unit following an earlier drug bust in Ang Mo Kio. (See report.)
The man locked himself and his mother, who is in her 70s, in the flat and refused to open the door.
Chinese papers reported that the 48-year-old man made several threats.
He said he would kill his elderly mother with a knife and then kill himself.
A statement from CNB said he also threatened to burn himself, and The New Paper understands that he said he would set fire to the two-room rental unit.
Shin Min Daily News reported that he also used two cooking gas cylinders to block the main door of the unit to prevent the authorities from entering.
The authorities responded with a big show of force as the police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) also arrived on the scene.
The SCDF and police were called in at around 9pm.
The police's Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) was also activated to try to persuade the suspect to open the door.
The SCDF set up a safety life air pack at the foot of the block and deployed rescue nets at the front and rear of the unit as a precautionary measure.
Residents from neighbouring units were also evacuated and had to spend the night out of their homes. (See report.)
The authorities donned their full gear and stationed themselves at various points in the block, witnesses told Lianhe Wanbao.
The Chinese paper reported that about 30 officers from the police and SCDF were at the scene, and the police had cordoned off access to the seventh, eighth and ninth storeys.
Police also activated the Special Operations Command (SOC) team, which showed up armed with shields and guns.
At around 10am yesterday, police from the SOC, which includes officers from the elite Special Tactics and Rescue Team (Star), stormed the flat.
Shouts could be heard coming from the unit after the police made their way in.
The police, dressed in full-black uniforms and armed with helmets and shields, were then seen leading away the suspect.
They escorted the man, whose left leg was bleeding, across the corridor and downstairs, where he was taken away in a police car.
No one else was hurt and the suspect was not armed when police entered the unit.
When TNP went to the suspect's unit at about 11am, the flat's front door grille had been cut and the door was damaged.
Two cooking gas cylinders could be seen near the door and the floor was littered with scraps of newspaper.
The police were also seen recovering a chopper, two knives, an empty detergent bottle and what looked like glass bottles of paint thinner as evidence. Retiree Wee Lai Huat, 70, who lives next door to the suspect and his mother, said the duo had been living in the rental flat for almost eight years.
The mother worked as a nanny and was not home most of the time.
"I don't know much about the family, we just say 'hi' and 'bye' and they mostly keep to themselves," said Mr Wee.
An elderly woman, believed to be the suspect's mother, came out of the flat after the incident. She was calm but looked to be in a daze.
When asked what happened earlier, she told TNP in Mandarin: "He (my son) didn't want to open the door when the police came... But I'm not hurt."
A younger woman in grey clothes, whom neighbours identified as the suspect's younger sister, was also at the scene.
Lianhe Wanbao reported that she had been present during the negotiations and was seen crying.
When TNP approached her, the woman, who looked to be in her 30s, said she did not know what had happened the night before.
She said she was a relative but declined to confirm her relationship with the suspect.
When I saw so many policemen and firemen downstairs, I knew it wasn't as simple as that.
- A resident in her 60s who was told to evacuate her flat because of a gas leak