Was man killed in Geylang over a woman?
Assailant stabs him after victim forces him to settle dispute
A 48-year-old man died after an attacker plunged a knife into his waist during an argument at a Geylang coffee shop on Sunday night.
Bleeding and visibly weakened, he stumbled to the turning lane at the junction of Sims Way and Guillemard Road, a few metres away from the outdoor dining area.
He died an hour later at a hospital.
While it is not clear what sparked the fight between the two men who appeared to know each other, witnesses said that it could have been over a woman.
The assailant, described as having white hair and wearing a red cap, fled the scene.
The police said they arrested a 55-year-old suspect yesterday. They have classified the case as murder.
The men were having a meal at the coffee shop, Choy's House, at Guillemard Road near Geylang Lorong 8 when they started arguing before 9pm.
A witness, who wanted to be known only as Mr John, said: "They were not arguing very loudly. So I'm not sure what it was about. It could have been over a woman."
He said that the men behaved as though they knew each other. They had ordered beer, but Mr John could not tell if they were drunk.
Another witness told Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News that the victim then hit the other man in the face.
This prompted a few others sitting nearby to intervene and separate the two.
The victim then stormed off but returned after 15 minutes and demanded that they discuss their matter by a four-faced Buddha statue (below) beside the main road.
When the other man refused, the victim grabbed him and pulled him to the statue.
It was there that the man pulled out a knife and plunged it into the left side of the victim's waist, witnesses said.
The victim fell to the ground as his attacker ran off in the direction of Lorong 4.
The police were called. Officers found the victim lying motionless and bleeding.
He had no pulse and was not breathing, said a Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman.
Paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the victim as he was taken in an ambulance to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Two women were taken in by the police for questioning, reported Shin Min Daily News.
There was speculation that one or both women could have been the reason for the men's dispute.
A part-time worker at Choy's House, Mr Mohamed Jumsi, 61, told The New Paper yesterday evening that the women were entertainers who went there to hang out with customers.
"They came frequently, hoping to get free drinks and food. I hardly know their background, except that they live nearby," he said.
"They know the men. But as to who is dating whom, I cannot tell. It was not my business to ask."
Mr Mohamed said the attacker is a regular at the coffee shop. The victim, whom he knows as "Rashid", was also a regular until he went to jail some time ago.
He was released last year. He had a wife and a daughter, Mr Mohamed said.
"People are quite rough here and arguments do happen, though not often. Maybe once every two months," he said.
"This is definitely the most serious case."
BAD FOR BUSINESS
A manager at the coffee shop, who declined to be named, said the murder could adversely affect food and beverage businesses in the area.
He fears the incident will drive people away from his coffee shop, which has been operating for more than 12 years.
The area has also suffered from a recent spate of fires and crimes, adding to its poor reputation among customers.
Part of the neighbourhood was marked for re-zoning into a commercial area by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in January.
The manager said in Mandarin: "There are the alcohol restrictions too, and with business already so poor, this murder is bad for us."
A worker at a minimart beside Choy's House said that business was now at an all-time low as they depend on the beer gardens for customers.
"Now with this murder, we're all going to be out of jobs soon. We're just sitting around swatting flies," she said.
Incidents in Geylang area
Two workers died and three others were injured when a fire broke out in the second-storey unit of a building at Lorong 6 Geylang. The building, an unauthorised dormitory, was believed to have housed more than 30 foreign workers.
An Indonesian maid was found dead at Hotel 81 Palace at Lorong 16 with her throat cut. Also in the room was a construction worker from India, who was found hanged.
A fire broke out in a coffee shop at 5 Guillemard Road, causing Lorong 8 to be closed for an hour. No one was hurt. It is believed that one of the stall staff could have left the gas on.
Four workers from Malaysia were killed by a fire at a Lorong 4 shophouse. Eight were injured, including two firemen.
A 25-year-old woman stabbed her ex-girlfriend twice in the chest in Golden Star Hotel at Lorong 8 for refusing to resume their relationship.
Last October, Giselle Shi Jia Wei, 25, was jailed for four years for trying to fatally wound her victim, who survived.