14th man charged over riot at Choa Chu Kang HDB block

One of the five accused (in red) being taken to the alleged crime scene at Block 102 Teck Whye Lane on March 4 to re-enact the scenario for police investigators. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A 14th suspect has been arrested and charged over a case of rioting at a Housing Board block void deck in Choa Chu Kang last week.

Mohammad Helmi Parmadi, 17, on Wednesday (March 4) was charged with carrying offensive weapons in a public place, as he was found with a watermelon knife, a bread knife and a sickle on Monday at a common corridor in a West Coast Road HDB block.

These items are believed to be connected to the riot last Thursday afternoon, and he is the latest to be nabbed among a group of men allegedly involved in the brawl at the ground floor of Block 102 Teck Whye Lane.

The group of men, aged between 17 and 28, had allegedly used weapons such as knuckle dusters, a knife, a metal bar and a metal rod

Thirteen of them were arrested and charged last Saturday.

Five of the accused were taken to the alleged crime scene on Wednesday to re-enact the incident for police investigators.

According to court documents, the men were split into two groups of at least five and eight each during the brawl.

Five men were charged last Saturday with rioting while armed with a deadly weapon, while the other eight were charged on the same day with joining an unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapons.

Residents said they saw the men chasing one another around the void deck and carpark, wielding weapons and shouting obscenities.

According to court documents, the men were split into two groups of at least five and eight each during the brawl last Thursday. PHOTOS: SCREENGRABS FROM ALLSINGAPORESTUFF/ FACEBOOK

Ms Keepa Shanu, 25, said that when she heard the commotion, she had initially thought it was just a fight between students from the nearby Institute of Technical Education (ITE) who would hang around the void deck, as quarrels occasionally broke out.

But when the university undergraduate looked out the window, she saw men screaming and running across the carpark, with several of them holding weapons.

"I heard someone shout "potong!", and I knew it was something big," she added, referring to the Malay word for "cut".

"They looked like they were running for their lives."

Another resident, who wanted to be known only as Madam Ahmad, said one of the men had told her that "nothing was going on" when she spoke to him from her second-floor unit.

But as they were talking, she saw another man behind him placing a wrapped parang under his shirt and walking away from her block, said the 54-year-old housewife.

She said she saw another man whose hand appeared to be bleeding.

"I didn't really think it would be this bad, but the police were very fast on the scene," she added.

The police said they were alerted to the rioting case at about 2.25pm.

Madam Ng Loy Kim, 64, a part-time cleaner who lives in Block 102, said another resident shouted from his unit to the men, telling them that the police were coming.

Madam Ng, who also thought the men were just "playful" students at first, said: "The police were running around trying to catch them, and they brought police dogs."

Residents who witnessed the scene said at least two men were taken away in handcuffs by the police.

Police said investigations are still ongoing, and the men are due back in court later this week.

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