Shangri-La shooting: Police shootings very rare in Singapore

Special Operations Command personnel stand guard at a school along Andersen Road, which leads to the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, on May 31, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
Special Operations Command personnel stand guard at a school along Andersen Road, which leads to the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, on May 31, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - A 34-year-old man was shot dead by police on Sunday (May 31) and two others, aged 26 and 31, were arrested. The incident happened near the Shangri-La Hotel where the Shangri-La Dialogue, a high-level security summit, was held.

The three men in a Singapore-registered red Subaru Impreza were stopped at a police vehicular checkpoint set up along Ardmore Park.

When police officers asked to inspect the car boot, the 34-year-old driver suddenly accelerated the vehicle and headed towards Anderson Road. Despite warnings to stop, the driver continued to crash through police barricades, endangering the lives of the officers, the police said.

Police shootings are very rare in Singapore. Before Sunday's incident, there have been just three reported cases in the past 15 years.

1. March 6, 2008

The drama unfolded in front of commuters on a train platform at Outram MRT Station. Lim Bock Song, 43, had fled to the station after stabbing his drinking buddy to death at a nearby hawker centre. He was spotted by Staff Sergeant Azli Othman and another officer at about 3.25pm.

Lim drew his knife and advanced towards the staff sergeant, ignoring the officer even after he drew his revolver and warned him to stop. He charged at Staff Sgt Azli, who shot him in the chest.

The single shot drew screams from several commuters, some of whom tried to get away by running up the escalators and stairs.

In 2010, a coroner's inquiry found that the shooting was justified. Closed-circuit television footage in the station showed that Staff Sgt Azli had little time to react to Lim's aggressive behaviour and could have been fatally stabbed, said the state coroner.

2. 2002

A 42-year-old motorcycle thief was shot after lunging at four policemen with a knife in a carpark at Mount Alvernia Hospital. He survived.

3. May 15, 2000

Sergeant Jason Chua Tock Sing fired four shots at psychiatric patient Ang Swee Kiat and killed him, after Ang threatened Sgt Chua and another police officer with a 62cm-long iron rod.

Ang had been sitting along Seletar Club Road, wearing military camouflage slacks and army boots. When police checked on him, he tried to attack them with the rod, and kept charging despite being shot the first time. So Sgt Chua fired three more shots.

The state coroner later ruled that Sgt Chua had been justified in his actions.

goyshiyi@sph.com.sg