Man in 4-hour stand-off feared his wife would be taken away
He thought social workers were there to take his wife away for good
An elderly man was involved in a four-hour stand-off with the police after locking himself and his wife in their flat on Wednesday.
A neighbour said the incident was sparked by the man's fear that his wife would be taken away from him after she made a complaint alleging that he had beaten her.
The police broke into the unit and arrested him. His wife was taken away by social workers.
The drama on the 10th storey of a block at Mei Ling Street, in Queenstown, started at about 5.20pm.
Recalling the incident yesterday, the neighbour told The New Paper that she had earlier overheard the man, who is in his 60s, having a heated argument with two workers from a family violence centre.
The neighbour, who is in her 30s and declined to be identified, said in Mandarin: "There was a misunderstanding between both parties.
"The workers wanted to take the man's wife away for a short period, but he thought they were taking her away for good."
The man's wife, who is also in her 60s, had apparently gone to the family violence centre to seek help and the workers had accompanied her home.
The neighbour said: "The workers were trying to push open the door while the uncle was trying to shut it. Both parties were agitated."
Two policemen had arrived at the scene by then. The neighbour also heard the man shouting in Mandarin: "Do not force me!"
After he locked the door and refused to open it, more police officers turned up to try to resolve the matter, said neighbours.
But he refused to budge. TNP understands that the man also threatened to set fire to the flat.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the incident at about 5.50pm. Two airbags were set up at the foot of the block and officers from the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Dart) deployed safety nets at the side of the unit.
The SCDF also sent two fire bikes, two fire engines, three support vehicles and an ambulance to the scene.
Residents in the area told TNP that they could see about 50 police officers and SCDF personnel on various floors of the block.
A 56-year-old housewife said Dart rescuers knocked on her door at about 8pm and asked to enter her unit to set up a rescue-from-height operation.
The woman, who declined to be identified, said: "They deployed nets from my living room window. Two men rappelled down the net."
She added that she could hear a lot of discussions going on.
"They wanted to negotiate with the man, hoping he would open the door voluntarily. The net was just a safety procedure," she said.
At about 9pm, she heard sounds that went on for about five minutes and suspected the officers had gained access to the unit by force.
Another neighbour, who is in his 60s, said he later saw two policemen leading the man away.
When TNP went to the unit yesterday, a summons from the Family Justice Courts was pasted on the door.
It said that the man had allegedly committed family violence against the applicant from Jan 29 to March 2. He was told to appear before the court to show cause why an order should not be made against him to restrain him from committing family violence against the applicant.
The police said a 62-year-old man was arrested for criminal intimidation and investigations were ongoing. No injuries were reported.