SINGAPORE - A man who held his girlfriend's two-year-old son hostage in a Sembawang rental flat resulting in a 17-hour stand-off with police was convicted on Wednesday (Nov 29) of four charges, including kidnapping the child.
Muhammad Iskandah Suhaimi, 40, admitted to taking the toddler from his mother without her consent on Sept 27 last year, having a knuckleduster as well as possessing and taking crystal methamphetamine or Ice the next day.
Neither his 33-year-old girlfriend nor her son can be named due to a gag order.
At about 4pm on Sept 27, 2016, Iskandah, who had been living in the rental flat for about a year with the victim and his mother, told his girlfriend to buy cigarettes for him.
When she stepped out of the flat with her son, he suddenly pulled the boy back and locked the main gate with the victim inside.
He ignored her requests to take the victim along with her. She was fearful as she had not been separated from her son before and usually did not leave him alone with Iskandah.
He commanded her to go and buy cigarettes, rejecting her pleas to release the boy. He challenged her to call the police.
She sought her mother's help and returned to the flat with her.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh said Iskandah still refused to let the victim out. He said he would only do so if his girlfriend agreed to enter the flat in exchange for the victim. Neither of the women agreed as Iskandah had a history of violence towards his girlfriend.
Police arrived at the scene at about 7pm, 15 minutes after a call was made.
Iskandah's girlfriend told the police that he had taken Ice earlier that day. She also said they were having relationship problems, that he had hit her, and was known to carry a knuckleduster with him.
DPP Koh said Iskandah continued to refuse to release the victim and demanded a one-for-one exchange, that is, he would release the boy in exchange for his girlfriend going into the flat alone.
Iskandah was aggressive, impatient and highly agitated at various points in his engagement with the police, the court heard. He behaved erratically and remained uncooperative.
He was seen taking drugs at one point. He was incoherent at times but was alert and appeared very conscious of any movement or noises.
Eventually at around noon, when Iskandah went to the toilet, a team from the Special Operations Command forcibly entered the flat by breaking through the window and removing the front gate. The victim was rescued and Iskandah arrested.
Iskandah admitted that he did not allow the victim to leave the flat as he thought that his girlfriend would call the police and report him for taking drugs if he allowed her to take her child away.
DPP Koh said the incident lasted about 17 hours from 6.43pm on Sept 27 to 12.03pm the next day.
District Judge Carol Ling adjourned the case to Feb 26 for sentencing.