Man nabbed over fiery object in food centre

Singapore Civil Defence Force officers at the Ang Mo Kio hawker centre where the pipe-shaped object landed. An area the size of a football field was cordoned off for six hours, with more than 50 police officers at the scene.
Singapore Civil Defence Force officers at the Ang Mo Kio hawker centre where the pipe-shaped object landed. An area the size of a football field was cordoned off for six hours, with more than 50 police officers at the scene.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

49-year-old suspect said to be a plumber whose father has a medicine shop nearby

A 49-year-old man arrested over an incident in which a flaming cylindrical object landed in an Ang Mo Kio hawker centre on Tuesday is believed to be a plumber whose father runs a medicine shop nearby.

It is understood that the man is Singaporean and was arrested on Wednesday.

The case has been classified as negligent conduct with respect to any explosive substance, said the police, and investigations are ongoing.

Chinese-language daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday that the suspect was the son of the owner of a nearby medicine shop and worked as a plumber.

An employee of a hawker stall at Kebun Baru Food Centre, who declined to be named, told The Straits Times that she saw the plumber being arrested and that she has had brief interactions with him previously.

"He isn't the reckless type, but rather the quiet sort," she said in Mandarin.

On Tuesday afternoon, a pipe-shaped object landed outside a stall in the Kebun Baru Food Centre located at Block 226H in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and emitted sparks, smoke and fire.

An area the size of a football field was cordoned off for six hours following the incident, with more than 50 police officers at the scene.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the incident at 4.40pm and sent a fire engine to the scene.

Fruit stall owner Tan Yong Joo, 56, said he saw a fiery object land just outside his stall after hearing a loud sound.

He proceeded to use a metal hook to move it away, worried that it was going to explode.

"I was scared to death," he told The Straits Times yesterday.

Earlier reports had stated that the fire was put out by two hawkers prior to the SCDF's arrival.

Mr Tan clarified that he had tried to put out the fire with help from another hawker, but they did not know how to operate the fire extinguisher.

Eventually, it was a foreign worker who successfully extinguished the fire.

No one was injured, according to the police.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'Man nabbed over fiery object in food centre'. Print Edition | Subscribe