SINGAPORE - A Chinese national stabbed himself on the ninth-floor ledge of an HDB block in Tampines and threatened to jump after allegedly killing a woman in the bedroom of a flat in the next block.
Residents of Block 505, Tampines Central 1, where the Chinese man had run to after allegedly committing the crime at Block 503, said they heard a loud quarrel broke out at about midnight on Wednesday.
Madam Lim Ai Lee, who lives on the eighth floor, said that she heard at least four different voices arguing loudly in heavily-accented Mandarin.
"They were talking very quickly and it was just tense," added the 41-year-old teacher, who could not make out what they were arguing about.
She said that the noise continued till about 3am when she decided to yell at the people to keep quiet or she would call the police.
Still, the commotion continued. She peeked out of her bedroom window and saw silhouettes and red, wet splotches dripping down the ledge on the landing.
There, the police arrested a 37-year-old Chinese national, who was bleeding profusely, on Wednesday morning for the alleged murder of his housemate, who was also from China.
Madam Lim said: "I thought it was red paint from construction work. There was so much. Who would have thought it was blood?"
When The Straits Times visited Block 505 on Wednesday morning, blood covered the ledge on the ninth floor and had dripped to the first level. There was also blood on the staircase landing.
The police said they received a call at 11.43pm on Tuesday, requesting for assistance. When the officers arrived at Block 503, they found a woman lying motionless in the unit on the seventh floor. Paramedics pronounced her dead at 12.10am.
Police have classified the case as murder and are investigating.
Next-door neighbour Fadzilah Hanum said she did not hear any commotion when the alleged murder happened.
"It was my husband's birthday, so I wished him 'happy birthday' at about 12.05am. He had just came home then," said the 35-year-old customer service officer.
She said that her previous neighbours had rented their unit out a couple of years ago, and since then, many Chinese nationals have been living in the five-room flat.
"There are many mattresses in the living room," she said. "They never open their doors fully, leaving only enough space for them to squeeze out one by one."
Residents said that about 10 people live in the five-room flat. It is not known how many of the occupants were in the flat when the alleged killing took place.
But they did not think much of this, because their new neighbours kept to themselves and did not create any problems.
Madam Fadzillah said: "Sometimes, they smile at my kids when I take them to school."
Another neighbour, Mr Neo Kim Tian, said that some of the tenants are believed to be factory workers as they wore uniforms on their way to work.
"The unit has always been quiet," added the 54-year-old maintenance worker.