A Singapore Prisons Emergency Action Response (Spear) Force team in full tactical gear is activated to deal with a "fire" at Admiralty West Prison and the ensuing mayhem, which includes three inmates who disobeyed instructions.
Nine officers - fully armed and masked - swing swiftly into action.
This was the scenario played out on Monday as the Spear Force demonstrated its capabilities to The Straits Times.
The team leader, Senior Chief Warder 2 Zainal Haron, 53, briefed the men on their mission: Provide security and form a tight cordon during the evacuation of 50 inmates to a safer prison block.
Less lethal force may be used if an inmate struggles or tries to escape, said the 26-year veteran.
The Spear Force, which traces its roots to the Singapore Action Prisons Unit formed in 1977, will mark its 40th anniversary on Dec 1.
Today's Spear Force officers are armed with modern technology and weaponry to deal with a range of operations, from quelling prison riots to evacuating inmates and escorting high-risk inmates to court.
Their formidable appearance is designed to quickly gain inmates' respect and compliance.
SCW2 Zainal, who declined to reveal the number of times the unit has been activated, said: "They (the inmates) will struggle. Sometimes they're big, over 100kg. It would require a few (officers) to subdue an inmate, not one. We train hard, but (getting) bruises is normal."
The officers' new uniform is fire-proof and they each also don a bulletproof and stabproof vest which is equipped with a communications set, gas mask, handcuffs, pepper spray and stun grenades.
They (the inmates) will struggle. Sometimes they're big, over 100kg. It would require a few (officers) to subdue an inmate, not one. We train hard, but (getting) bruises is normal.
SENIOR CHIEF WARDER 2 ZAINAL HARON
Body protection is vital as inmates can improvise and make weapons out of sharpened plastics, pens as well as keys.
Chief Warder 1 Jeremy, 31, one of the youngest in the team with six years of experience, counts the Remington 870 Modular Combat Shotgun as his favourite weapon. The armaments and acquisition specialist, who declined to give his full name, said the shotgun can fire less lethal "super sock" shells up to 50m.
The officers' FN303P sidearm does the same with pellets but has a shorter range of about 20m.
A gungho, trigger-happy recruit is not needed in the unit, said its commanding officer, Assistant Commissioner Ong Aik San.
AC Ong, 50, said: "We look for people who are team players. During the selection try-outs, (we look at) who's helping the other fellow."
Team work is essential when dealing with rioting inmates. The Spear Force's stack of eight officers moves in concert swiftly, each man covering a sector. Hand signals are relayed instead of verbal orders, to gain tactical advantage.
To date, no Spear Force officer has been stabbed or overpowered in any real-life operation.
Added AC Ong: "It hasn't happened yet. Should it happen, we want to make sure they are able to overcome the odds."