A LUNCHTIME brawl, presumably over a girl, turned into a bloody slashing right in the middle of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West's campus yesterday.
The drama unfolded much like a scene out of an action movie, in the centre of a spacious atrium ringed by steps where students had been lounging about during their break.
Wielding what eyewitnesses said was a large parang, a male attacker in a white T-shirt lunged at another male dressed in black, as a stunned crowd looked on.
Footage of the fight, recorded by students and circulated widely on social media, showed both teens circling each other, and the one in white slashing with what appeared to be a 30cm-long knife.
Seen nearby was a lone security guard, who witnesses said tried to break up the fight by yelling at the teens to stop.
The attacker managed to strike his victim on the arm and back before fleeing, recounted one student who said he witnessed the entire episode.
The injured teen then ran to one of the school's offices, leaving a trail of blood, said a second-year student who wanted to be known only as Nazrul.
"We were all shocked, nobody dared to go up to help when they were fighting because the knife was so big," he added. "I followed him to see if he was okay. In the office, he was still dripping blood, and he said to me, 'Do you think I'm okay?'"
The victim was conscious as he was taken to the National University Hospital with lacerations to his arm and back.
He is believed to be the boyfriend of a female student at the school.
Students said the victim did not attend their school but was known to them as he would hang around often with his girlfriend.
The attacker is believed to be a student of the school.
ITE College West's principal, Dr Yek Tiew Ming, did not identify either party, but said the school "will render whatever assistance is required".
"We take a serious view of the matter and do not condone such an act," added Dr Yek. "The case was reported to the police and is now under police investigation."
According to several students who spoke to The Straits Times, the teens had been squabbling, allegedly over a girl, moments before the knife was brandished.
They pushed each other around and were heard yelling vulgarities, before the attacker is said to have punched and then kicked his victim, leading to the stand-off in the atrium.
Police said they were alerted to the fracas at about 12.35pm and had, by the evening, arrested a 16-year-old male in connection with the case, which has been classified as voluntarily causing hurt with dangerous means.
Police investigations are ongoing. Anyone convicted of such an offence could face up to seven years in jail, on top of a fine and caning.