SINGAPORE: A 61-year-old man was arrested for attempted murder on Monday (May 4) after he allegedly stabbed a National Parks Board (NParks) officer who was installing SafeEntry signs along Sungei Serangoon Park Connector.
The police said they received a call for assistance from an NParks officer at about 12.05pm on Monday. The officer said that her colleague had been stabbed by a man along Sengkang East Drive.
According to the police, the attack happened after NParks officers saw the man cutting plants illegally at the park connector. He was not wearing a mask.
"During the engagement, the man turned aggressive and attacked the victim with a sharp instrument," said the police in a news release.
The victim sustained serious injuries to his chest, arm and hand, said the police, adding that he was conscious when taken to Changi General Hospital.
The man fled the scene on his bicycle before the police arrived, and was arrested within one-and-a-half hours.
Photographs released by the authorities showed several sharp tools that were found on him, including a fruit peeler, pliers and a knife blade.
The man will also be investigated for possession of offensive weapons in public places and breach of safe distancing measures.
He will be remanded for further investigations and the police will seek a court order to send him for psychiatric assessment.
The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and NParks said in a joint media release that they are "appalled and deeply concerned by the vicious attack".
"We have zero tolerance towards such acts ... Any form of abuse or attack on public officers constitutes a serious offence, and offenders will be prosecuted in court."
They also called on members of the public to cooperate when approached by MEWR or NParks officers, and to abide strictly by safe distancing measures.
"Our thoughts are with the officer and his family, and we are extending our support. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery," they said.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said that the NParks officer is currently warded for surgery.
"My thoughts are with the officer and his family. I wish him a speedy recovery," he added.
He said that such violence and complete disregard for safe distancing was "absolutely unacceptable".
"Since the start of the circuit breaker, our officers have worked tirelessly and made personal sacrifices to keep Singapore safe. Many of them have taken on safe distancing duties, over and above their regular, ongoing work.
"They are unarmed and performing a national duty to keep us safe from community spread of COVID-19. They deserve to be treated with respect. Their families are waiting for them to return home safely each day. It is our collective responsibility to look out for them, just as they are looking out for us," he added.
The suspect will be charged in court for attempted murder on Wednesday. If found guilty, he faces up to 15 years’ jail and a fine. If hurt is caused to any person by such an act, he faces life imprisonment.
"This is an egregious act of violence inflicted on a public servant who was performing his duties. The man will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the police said.