Man held after 3-hour stand-off with cops

The man, who was believed to be armed with a knife, was led away by the police after a three-hour stand-off. He had allegedly threatened two of his tenants after they had told him they wanted to move out.
The man, who was believed to be armed with a knife, was led away by the police after a three-hour stand-off. He had allegedly threatened two of his tenants after they had told him they wanted to move out.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

Neighbours evacuated from Marsiling block when SCDF officers detected presence of gas

A 49-year-old man, believed to be armed with a knife, kept police officers at bay for nearly three hours yesterday, locking himself in his Marsiling Drive flat.

Meanwhile, his next-door neighbours on the seventh storey, and residents living directly above and below his flat, were evacuated by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers, who had detected the presence of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the vicinity.

The man, who is believed to be the owner of the three-room flat that had been sublet to five tenants, was eventually led away by the police at around 4.30pm.

He had allegedly threatened two of his tenants - a Malaysian couple who have been living there since 2014 - after they had told him they wanted to move out because of his paranoid behaviour. The other tenants were not home at the time.

The husband, Mr Lee Tong Way, said his landlord, whom he knew only as Mr Tan, had become paranoid about being caught by the police and believed himself to be a triad member.

Mr Lee, a foodcourt stall operator, said his landlord brandished a butter knife at him and his wife on Monday and proclaimed it was to be used for self-defence against his enemies, who included the police.

HOW IT STARTED

We decided to move away for good, but he did not like the idea that we were leaving and thought we were betraying him... He was a different person when we first rented from him. I don't know what changed.

MR LEE TONG WAY, on his landlord who had threatened him and his wife with a butter knife after they decided to move out.

"We decided to move away for good, but he did not like the idea that we were leaving and thought we were betraying him," said Mr Lee, 44.

"He was a different person when we first rented from him. I don't know what changed."

As Mr Lee and his wife packed their belongings yesterday, their landlord locked himself in a room and continually berated them for leaving.

Mr Lee called the police when he was not allowed to retrieve some money that he had in the room. The landlord had allegedly told him: "It's your money or your life."

A neighbour living five units away on the same floor, who wanted to be known only as Madam Bartha, 67, told The Straits Times that she saw the frightened couple at her door at around 1pm.

She invited them to seek refuge at her home, and gave them food and water, until the police took the man away at around 4.30pm.

The housewife said: "I do not know who the man is but I know the couple, who are very friendly. They were extremely scared and it was only right for me to help them."

Madam Sufahati Rufiee, 77, a part-time teacher, who also lives on the same floor, said: "It first started at around 12 plus when I heard a lot of voices and then policemen and firemen shuffling past the corridor.

"There was a long stand-off (between the police and the man) but thankfully, the couple who lived there are safe."

Some of the police officers had riot shields.

The SCDF also deployed an airbag on the ground floor, attracting the attention of curious onlookers.

Disaster and Rescue Team rappellers kept watch on the eighth storey as a precautionary measure, an SCDF spokesman said.

A water jet was also set up due to the presence of the LPG.

Mr Lee said he and his wife would stay at a friend's place for now.

In another incident, a 49-year-old woman was arrested yesterday for attempting suicide. She had locked herself in her seventh-storey flat in Block 645, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6.

A police spokesman said they were alerted to the incident at around 4.30pm. The woman was held on suspected drug-related offences as well, he added.

Police investigations into both cases are ongoing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2017, with the headline 'Man held after 3-hour stand-off with cops'. Print Edition | Subscribe