Hostage situation in Singapore?
In a post on an online forum, Hardware Zone, videos were shared of what appears to be a woman being held hostage at knife-point by a man and the man subsequently being disarmed and taken down by several police officers.
Simulated hostage situation?
News reports have confirmed that the hostage incident indeed occurred and was not merely a simulation exercise.
The Straits Times of Singapore has reported that “A 42-year-old man was arrested on Monday morning [9 January 2023] after taking a 60-year-old woman hostage in Yishun”.
The perpetrator had allegedly taken the victim hostage at the void deck of Block 108 Yishun Ring Road and moved to a coffeeshop at Block 110 Yishun Ring Road, which was some 200m away.
Singapore Police Force’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) attempted to negotiate with the perpetrator from the void deck of Block 108 Yishun Ring Road and while he moved to the coffeeshop at Block 110 Yishun Ring Road before eventually taking him into custody.
The victim suffered minor injuries but declined to be brought to the hospital.
Motivation(s) of perpetrator
It is understood that the perpetrator and hostage victim are strangers to each other.
The victim is believed to live near the coffeeshop and had walked away after ordering her coffee when she encountered the perpetrator.
While the motivation(s) behind the hostage situation remain unclear, this has not stopped speculation that this incident could be attributed to “The Devil’s Ring” which is rumoured to be a particular area in Yishun where “unlucky” incidents occur.
In the meantime, police investigations on the incident are currently still in progress.
Similar incident(s) and penalty
Hostage situations are rare but not completely new to Singapore.
In a recent similar incident, two men had locked themselves and their mother in their flat. The two men refused to co-operate with Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers who were at the unit to conduct an enforcement operation and were assessed to be a potential threat to their mother.
CNB officers had previously attended at the same flat and a man had similarly locked himself and his mother in the flat and threatened to kill his mother.
The penalty for taking someone hostage ranges from imprisonment up to 15 years and fine or caning to imprisonment for life or death (and fine or caning if imprisoned for life as opposed to sentenced to death).