IN A rare incident in Singapore jails, a senior prison officer was allegedly attacked by an inmate on Wednesday morning.
The inmate had apparently used a sharp object, believed to be a pair of scissors, to stab the officer in the Changi Prison Complex more than once.
A well-placed source told The Straits Times that 26-year-old assistant superintendent of prison Jaiy Santosh was stabbed in his stomach and another part of his body, in his office.
A Singapore Prison Service (SPS) spokesman said that "he is in a stable condition and continues to be under medical observation".
While violence between prisoners is not uncommon here, criminology experts said that such bloody attacks on prison officers are almost unheard of.
"I believe this is a very rare and isolated case. I cannot recall any stabbing of prison officers in recent years," said former senior prison officer turned criminal lawyer Rajan Supramaniam.
Police said that they received a call at about 7.30am, requesting assistance at Changi Prison on Wednesday.
When the police arrived, they found a prison officer injured. He was later taken to Changi General Hospital for treatment.
Investigations into the attack are ongoing, said the police.
The prison spokesman also confirmed that a senior officer had sustained injuries.
"All appropriate medical care is being rendered to the officer and support is being offered to his family," said the spokesman.
"The incident leading to his injury is currently being investigated by the police."
The spokesman did not reply to queries on how the inmate managed to obtain the sharp object for the attack.
It is not known who else was present during the incident.
A former inmate who wanted to be known only as Michael said that inmates who work as "office boys" are the ones who would likely have the chance to enter the officer's office.
"Technically, the officer's office is out of bounds to all inmates. But because of the role and duties carried out by the office boys, some officers would let them into the office," explained Michael.
"Also, some office boys became friends with the prison officers, hence they are allowed to roam quite freely during office hours. Of course, they would still be locked up in the cells at night."
Michael explained that an office boy is picked based on good behaviour and is the middleman between inmates and prison officers.
"Whenever we needed to change toothbrushes or mugs, we would inform the office boys. But because of their close relationship with the prison officers, inmates often don't trust them," he said.
Mr Rajan said that in cases of attacks on prison officers, the assault is often by inmates who suffer from depression.
"But most of the time, these prison officers don't sustain such serious injuries," he said.
He added that besides office boys, inmates are also allowed into the senior officer's office during counselling sessions.
"If the inmate is charged and convicted for voluntarily causing hurt, depending on the seriousness of the injuries sustained by the officer, the inmate could face imprisonment and caning," he said.