Singapore (13/3). A man was detained by police following an alleged blast in front of the Kallang Neighbourhood Police Post late Friday night (13 March), according to eyewitnesses.
Jerome Simon, a 38-year-old personal trainer, was trying to get to sleep when he heard what sounded like a blast at around 11.40pm. Looking out from the window of his block at 113B McNair Road, he could see flames and heard people screaming in the distance, he told Yahoo News Singapore.
When Simon went to the scene at Block 105 Towner Road, he saw that something had apparently been “blown up” in front of the Kallang Neighbourhood Police Post, which is located at the foot of the block.
A shirtless man with a black hood over his head had been detained by the police near the scene while he was there.
“It was completely insane,” Simon said, describing the incident.
The word “ISIS” could be seen repeatedly scrawled on the walls of the block.
A video posted on Facebook by user Maya Korrs appeared to show the incident prior to the authorities’ arrival. In it, a man dressed in dark clothes can be seen walking back and forth from a lorry parked in front of the police post while the blaze is taking place.
At one point the man appears to toss two bags into the fire. A small eruption can also be heard near the start of the video.
TODAY, a Singaporean broadsheet, reported, that Mr Heng Chee How, Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency, said he had been told by residents living in the area that a man had arrived at the block in a pickup truck and started a fire.
Mr Heng told TODAY: “I’m glad that nobody was harmed. It is important that we remain calm but we must also make it very clear that such behaviour cannot be condoned.
“I have every confidence that the police will do their job and get to the bottom of it… We have to establish the facts and we must not speculate.”
In a statement on Saturday morning, the police said that they had arrested the 30-year-old man, originally reported as aged 31, for mischief by fire.
“Although he had scribbled the words ‘ISIS’ on the pillars near the neighbourhood police post, preliminary investigations indicated that he acted alone and it was not terrorism-related, but the act of a disgruntled person unhappy with perceived social inequality,” they said.
Investigations revealed that the man had set fire to a few bags of clothes using petrol or diesel in front of the police post and smashed the glass door of the office.
He will be remanded for further investigations and the police will seek a court order to get him to receive psychiatric assessment.
The offence of mischief by fire carries a punishment with imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine.