Man who held woman at knifepoint along Yishun Ring Road was known to police
Preliminary investigations revealed that the man’s urine tested positive for controlled drugs.
SINGAPORE: A 42-year-old man who held a woman at knifepoint along Yishun Ring Road on Monday (Jan 9) morning had pulled her along for about 50m and was known to police officers in the area, but was not wanted by the authorities.
These details of the incident came to light during a press conference held at Woodlands Police Division on Monday evening.
The man will be charged in court on Tuesday with possessing an offensive weapon in a public place. Police officers who regularly patrol the area are familiar with him and have interacted with him before, added a police spokesperson at the press conference.
Preliminary investigations by the Central Narcotics Bureau revealed that the man’s urine tested positive for controlled drugs.
The victim, a 60-year-old Yishun resident, suffered an abrasion on her right chin. She did not want to be taken to the hospital.
The police said they received a call for assistance over the incident where a man was holding a knife in the vicinity of Block 108 Yishun Ring Road. The man had approached her while she was at the block.
“Responding officers spotted the man holding onto (the) woman with the knife in his right hand, held against her neck,” added the police, who did not name either of them.
The man and woman then moved towards the coffee shop at Block 110 Yishun Ring Road.
The police said that based on preliminary investigations, they do not know each other, and the man did not make any threats or demands after police officers arrived.
Ground Response Force officers and officers from the Emergency Response Team of Woodlands Police Division responded to the incident.
“After an initial engagement where the man continued to hold the woman at knifepoint, police officers managed to disarm him and place him under arrest, bringing the woman to safety,” the police said.
Videos circulating on social media show a man holding an object to a woman's neck just outside a coffee shop, while at least four police officers speak to him.
In another video, at least eight police officers are seen holding the man down, with another man who appears to be a member of the public assisting them.
The knife - which has an 8cm blade and a 10cm handle - was also seized from the man after his arrest. Preliminary investigations revealed that the stains on the knife are not human blood.
The police will seek to remand him at the Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric evaluation after he is charged on Tuesday.
If convicted of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, he can be jailed for up to three years and given at least six strokes of the cane. The offence falls under the Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ang Eng Seng, commander of Woodlands Police Division, said: “The subject involved in this incident posed a grave danger to the public, and demonstrated a blatant disregard for the law.
“Police officers from Woodlands Division responded quickly, and their decisive action led to a swift and resolute outcome. The subject was placed under arrest to prevent any further harm from being caused.”
Providing a timeline of the sequence of events, AC Ang said police responded to a call at around 7.36am, and officers reached the scene within eight minutes. Following that, officers subdued the subject and arrested him within 20 minutes.
"In general, the law and order situation in Yishun is well under control. We believe this to be a one-off incident and residents need not be unduly worried," said AC Ang.
Coffee shop stall owners previously told CNA that the victim was a regular customer and lived nearby.
The coffee shop supervisor said there have been fights in the area and teenagers acting rowdily in the middle of the night. While police officers had turned up at the coffee shop before, this was the first time an incident like this happened in her years working there, she added.