14 arrested at Boys' Home for rioting; auxiliary cop, 2 staff hurt

A strong police presence (left) was visible outside the Singapore Boys' Home in Jurong yesterday evening, with more than 15 police vehicles and 10 police bikes spotted there around 7pm. At about 8pm, officers in riot gear (below) were seen leaving th
A strong police presence (above) was visible outside the Singapore Boys' Home in Jurong yesterday evening, with more than 15 police vehicles and 10 police bikes spotted there around 7pm. ST PHOTOS: JONATHAN CHOO
A strong police presence (left) was visible outside the Singapore Boys' Home in Jurong yesterday evening, with more than 15 police vehicles and 10 police bikes spotted there around 7pm. At about 8pm, officers in riot gear (below) were seen leaving th
At about 8pm, officers in riot gear (above) were seen leaving the premises. The police said they received a call for help at 5.51pm.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Shouting at the home could be heard as police rushed in; incident being probed

Police arrested 14 residents of the Singapore Boys' Home for rioting yesterday evening. Two male staff and an auxiliary police officer were taken to Ng Teng Fong Hospital with minor injuries.

The police said they received a call for help at 5.51pm. They are investigating the incident.

The Straits Times arrived outside the home in Jurong at around 7pm and saw more than 15 police vehicles and 10 police bikes there.

The Singapore Boys' Home is a juvenile residential home run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. It houses at-risk young people aged between 12 and 21 who might also have been in trouble with the law.

Mr James Tan, 70, was cycling along Jurong West Street 24 when he heard shouting near the main gate of the home.

The retiree recounted what he had seen briefly to The Straits Times.

Mr Tan, a Jurong West resident for 20 years, said: "At about 6pm, just as I was cycling past the entrance, I saw police officers rushing to enter the Boys' Home. The shouts came from boys inside the premises and they seemed to be directed at the policemen."

But Mr Tan could not make out what was being said. So, he continued cycling.

The Singapore Boys' Home is a juvenile residential home run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. It houses at-risk young people aged between 12 and 21 who might also have been in trouble with the law.

Later, at 6.30pm, he realised the situation was more serious when he saw many flashing lights from police vehicles parked outside the Boys' Home.

The road leading to Jurong West Street 24 had also been blocked by the police.

Another witness, who gave his name only as Mr Hazli, 42, said that he had to make a big detour to get to a nearby mosque.

Mr Hazli and Mr Tan were among a handful of bystanders outside the Boys' Home.

Mr Tan said: "It is quite normal to see a few police cars parked outside the home whenever there is small trouble with the residents. But the sight of so many police vehicles tonight can only mean there is a big problem."

The last time many police vehicles were spotted there was in September 2016, when 26 residents from the home were arrested for unlawful assembly.

Back then, residents from a nearby Housing Board estate reported that they heard groups of boys shouting vulgarities and making banging sounds that went on for hours.

Correction note: An earlier version of the article said the home houses at-risk young people aged between 12 and 21 who might also have been in trouble with the law. It should be between 12 and 19. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2018, with the headline '14 arrested at Boys' Home for rioting; auxiliary cop, 2 staff hurt'. Print Edition | Subscribe