Suspect shot by police during Balestier raid after attacking officer and attempting to snatch revolver
SINGAPORE: A man was shot by a police officer during a raid on a residential unit along Balestier Road on Thursday (Nov 5), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said.
Three plainclothes officers entered the unit at City Suites condominium at about 1am on Thursday as part of operations to track down suspects involved in a series of cheating cases. The officers were carrying revolvers and handcuffs.
Four people were in the unit: A 36-year-old man, a 22-year-old man, a 33-year-old woman and a 23-year-old woman.
Preliminary investigations showed that while the officers were in the unit, the 36-year-old man “suddenly lunged” at one of the officers and attacked him repeatedly, causing the officer to fall on the floor bleeding from the face, SPF said.
A second officer warned the man to stop the assault but he did not. The third officer was attending to another suspect.
The 22-year-old man was then seen approaching the officer who was attacked, and the second police officer “assessed” that he would join the older man in assaulting the police officer.
“Concerned with the safety of his partner, the second officer immediately drew his revolver and warned the (36-year-old man) to stop his assault,” said the police in a news release.
The man did not comply with the warning and continued to hit the officer on the floor.
Suddenly, he rushed towards the second officer and grabbed his revolver, said SPF. The 22-year-old man then assaulted the first officer, the police added.
During the brawl, the second officer “discharged one round” from his revolver at the 36-year-old man. This was for the officer's safety and to prevent the man from snatching his revolver, said police.
“This did not immediately stop (the 36-year-old man) from his attempt to snatch the second officer’s revolver and the struggle continued," added SPF.
Both men were eventually subdued by backup officers who later arrived at the unit.
The 36-year-old man sustained a gunshot wound to his stomach and was attended to by paramedics before he was taken conscious to hospital. He is currently in a stable condition, SPF said.
Two police officers were injured. The first sustained injuries to his face and arm, while the second officer sustained injuries to his hands and lips. They needed medical treatment, and are now in a stable condition and recuperating, said the police.
The officer who fired his revolver had felt their lives were under threat, Assistant Commissioner of Police (AC) Cheong Chee Ming, who is the Tanglin Division commander, said during a press conference on Thursday.
"Police officers work in a dynamic environment. There are many unknowns out there, and the risks our officers face on a daily basis are very real," he said.
"This incident is one of such. Our officers have to be nimble and react to situations as they develop."
As a matter of protocol, the Special Investigation Section under the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is investigating the officer’s discharge of the firearm.
The last time an officer discharged a firearm was in 2015, when a Gurkha officer fatally shot a 34-year-old man who ploughed through police barricades near the Shangri-La Hotel during the Shangri-La Dialogue.
ALL FOUR ARRESTED
The two men were arrested for voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty, cheating and suspected drug consumption.
Both men are wanted for other cheating and drug-related offences.
The 36-year-old man was traced for being a member of an unlawful assembly as well as drug and custom-related offences, said the police, adding that he is currently pending sentence of cheating offences.
The 22-year-old man was a former police supervisee under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act.
The other two suspects who were in the unit were arrested for cheating and suspected drug consumption. The 33-year-old woman is also wanted for other cheating offences and failure to attend court, said the police.
About S$20,000 worth of suspected criminal proceeds, drugs and drug-related paraphernalia were seized from the unit. Police investigations are ongoing.
The Central Narcotics Bureau is investigating the drug activities of the arrested suspects.
THREE OTHERS ARRESTED
Three other people – an 18-year-old man, an 18-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man – were also arrested for their suspected involvement in a series of cheating cases.
“Through a series of syndicated scams, the offenders allegedly made use of other persons’ particulars to apply for and purchase new handsets and phone lines from a telco,” said the police.
They would then make the initial payment using “fraudulently obtained” credit card details and sell the handsets for cash after receiving them, said SPF, adding that the telephone company purportedly lost about S$43,000 from the handset sales.
The seven victims whose particulars were misused were also charged for the mobile phone subscriptions.
On Tuesday, police officer intercepted a delivery of six handsets purchased by the offenders. The 32-year-old man was arrested along Geylang Lorong 23.
On the same day, police officers seized five handsets, a laptop, a signature pad and 23 SIM cards along Bukit Timah Road. The two 18-year-olds were arrested in an apartment along Bukit Timah Road on Thursday.
"The police will not hesitate to take enforcement action against syndicated criminal activity," AC Cheong said.
"We will continue to pursue criminals vigorously and take necessary action, including the use of necessary force to apprehend criminals."