More police patrols at Orchard mall after slashing attack

Police have beefed up their presence at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard in the wake of an attack outside the popular youth hang- out on June 15.

Uniformed and plain-clothes police officers were seen conducting checks on several groups of young patrons when The Sunday Times visited the mall yesterday evening.

A spokesman said last night that the operation was to "project police presence and deter and detect crime".

Patrons said they were reassured by the heightened presence, a sign that the move is effective in curbing violent crime in the area.

The mall at Grange Road, along with neighbouring youth hang- out *Scape, are well-known gathering spots for large groups of young people, some of whom belong to gangs, youth counsellors and tenants said.

Many teenagers were seen outside the mall as Top 40 music was blasted from nearby speakers.

Full-time national serviceman Solomon Koh, 19, who hangs out at the mall "almost every weekend", said the security guards and plain-clothes officers on patrol made him feel "safer" in light of the incident.

Mr Bryan Lee, 30, a dance choreographer at O School Studio at *Scape, said that such increased security "is a must" to reassure the public.

At about 9pm on June 15, a group of tattooed youths set upon full-time national serviceman Wilson Siau, 20, after he purportedly riled them with his "cocky" walking style.

Eleven suspects have been arrested for the attack, and at least two of them are believed to have been armed.

Four of them have been charged. Muhammad Fairuz Abdul Ghani and Muhammad Nazmir Osman, both 20, were said to have been with three other members of an unlawful assembly when they caused hurt to Mr Siau.

One of the trio, Muhammad Fahmi Razali, 20, was armed with a parang during the assault.

Fahmi and Mizra Abdul Azman, 23, have been charged with rioting with deadly weapons.

If convicted, the men may be jailed up to 10 years and caned.

Mr Siau, who suffered injuries to his head and arms, has since been discharged from the Singapore General Hospital.

This was the second incident in six months - last December, a 23-year-old man was left in critical condition after he was attacked by a group at the mall. Two men aged 22 and 23 were later arrested.

One of those outside *Scape yesterday was undergraduate Muhammad Fazil Muhammad Shaffarudin, 23, who attends classes at O School. He said: "This is not a weekly occurrence, and such an incident should not be disruptive."