Serangoon Road slashing: 7 suspects nabbed, samurai sword used in attack allegedly dumped in reservoir

The Straits Times understands that the suspect, Arjun Retnavelu, tossed the sword into the reservoir at about 4pm on July 25, 2018. A second weapon - a kitchen knife - was left at the location of the attack in front of Broadway Hotel.
The Straits Times understands that the suspect, Arjun Retnavelu, tossed the sword into the reservoir at about 4pm on July 25, 2018. A second weapon - a kitchen knife - was left at the location of the attack in front of Broadway Hotel.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Arjun arrived at the reservoir at about 1pm in a police van accompanied by five police officers. He had restraints on his arms and legs.
Arjun arrived at the reservoir at about 1pm in a police van accompanied by five police officers. He had restraints on his arms and legs.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
The victim, believed to be a Singaporean, was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital on July 25, with injuries to the back of his head, arms and legs. His attackers were arrested in the vicinity of Corporation Road in Jurong and Block 26 Sin Ming Industrial
The victim, believed to be a Singaporean, was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital on July 25, with injuries to the back of his head, arms and legs. His attackers were arrested in the vicinity of Corporation Road in Jurong and Block 26 Sin Ming Industrial Estate.PHOTO: ST READER
A 27-year-old man was conscious when he was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Police investigations are ongoing.
A 27-year-old man was conscious when he was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Police investigations are ongoing.PHOTO: TNP READER

SINGAPORE - One of the seven suspects arrested for the slashing incident in Serangoon Road was on Thursday (July 26) taken by police investigators to Lower Peirce Reservoir, where he allegedly dumped a samurai sword used in Wednesday's attack.

The Straits Times understands that the suspect, Arjun Retnavelu, tossed the sword into the reservoir at about 4pm on Wednesday. He was believed to be drunk at the time. A second weapon - a kitchen knife - was left at the location of the attack in front of Broadway Hotel.

Arjun and six others fled after slashing a 27-year-old man, prompting the police to mount an islandwide manhunt. The victim was left with serious injuries, including wounds on the back of his head, arms and legs.

The police said on Thursday that the seven suspects, who are Singaporeans aged between 17 and 28, were arrested in the vicinity of Corporation Road in Jurong and Block 26 Sin Ming Industrial Estate.

Police said in a statement on Thursday night that five of the suspects will be charged in court on Friday with the offence of rioting armed with deadly weapons under Section 148 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

This is punishable with a maximum jail term of 10 years and caning. Investigations against the two remaining suspects are still ongoing.

Arjun was understood to be among the six people arrested at about 6am at a unit in Sin Ming Industrial Estate. 

Dressed in a striped T-shirt, black pants and slippers, he arrived at the reservoir at about 1pm in a police van accompanied by five officers. He had restraints on his arms and legs.

Commercial divers were also spotted at the scene to assist with investigations.

They took the suspect to the water's edge to describe Wednesday's sequence of events again.

The two divers entered the water at around 1.30pm, first establishing an area of search by setting a buoy, before checking out the underwater terrain.

Meanwhile at about 3.30pm, after checking the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage in the area for about 25 minutes, officers were still unable to locate the weapon. Searches underwater by the divers also did not yield results.

At about 4.20pm, the divers emerged to change their air tanks. They had been diving for about two hours.

The two divers are Mr Ryan Phoa, 29, and Mr Jacki Ng, 42, who are both from Asia Dive Academy. They said that they had dived to a depth of about 3m. 

The visibility was bad, only about 10cm, and it became close to nothing when the sediment was kicked up and the water became murky, explained Mr Ng.

He added that it was tough to search for the weapon too, as there was a very thick layer of silt which it could have sunk into.

Mr Ng said: “The sun will set soon, and that will be the limiting factor.”

By around 5.50pm, no weapon had been found and the search was called off. 

ST understands that officers will be checking CCTV footage in the surrounding areas.

The group had fled in a rental car after the attack, leaving the victim - believed to be a Singaporean - lying on the leftmost lane of the four-lane Serangoon Road.

The police said they were alerted on Wednesday to a case of voluntarily causing grievous hurt with dangerous means at 202 Serangoon Road at about 2.30pm.

Witnesses told ST on Wednesday that the man was lying in a pool of blood in front of the bus stop, with a knife seen near him.

 

Someone took a first-aid kit to the scene, and two people with medical knowledge assisted until an ambulance arrived.

The area was cordoned off by the police and buses had to stop to drop off and pick up passengers farther down the road.