Singapore

Five hour standoff between police and drug addict

The suspect who held the law at bay for five hours yesterday before his arrest had been jailed for seven years for drug offences, said his uncle.

The uncle, who was with the man's brother, told The New Paper that the suspect had married a Vietnamese woman after his release from prison. But the couple later separated.

The suspect, 50, had barricaded himself in his third-storey flat at Block 114, Ho Ching Road, with his elderly father and his girlfriend at about 1pm yesterday.

Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers and the police had shown up at the flat in a joint operation against the man for drug offences.

He threatened to harm the officers with a knife if they entered the unit, the police said.

When The New Paper arrived at the scene at 5.30pm, about 40 to 50 officers, including those from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), were at the block.

The SCDF officers set up an inflatable safety life air pack at the foot of the block.

At 5.45pm, the man's girlfriend emerged crying from the flat.

The woman, believed to be Vietnamese, then tried to go back to the unit to say goodbye to the man's father but was denied permission by the police, who then took her away.

INTIMIDATION

Soon after, Special Operations Command officers broke into the flat and arrested the man for criminal intimidation and suspected drug-related offences.

Shortly before 8pm, a man believed to be the father was escorted out of the flat by relatives.

Before he was driven away, he told reporters that his son was released from prison in 2008 and is unemployed.

More than 40 residents and passers-by gathered at the block during the incident.

A woman, who lives two flats from the suspect's unit and wanted to be known only as Ms Leong, 61, said she had seen him leaving his home with different women in the past.

Mr Zul Sulami, 39, a pest controller who lives on the sixth storey, said he had often heard the suspect talking loudly to other people in the void deck at night.

He said of the man's father: "He treated me like his own son and often said I was a better son than his own." - ANG TIAN TIAN & AUDREY LEONG

COURT & CRIME