Singapore — A 61-year-old man who allegedly attacked a safe distancing enforcement officer from the National Parks Board (NParks) has been arrested for attempted murder.
The officers were putting up SafeEntry signs along the Sungei Serangoon Park Connector, when the assailant became aggressive and came at them with a sharp implement, injuring one of the officers. The man had been cutting plants illegally and was not wearing a mask.
According to the police, the officer was seriously wounded in the arm, chest and hand but was conscious when he was brought to the Changi General Hospital.
The incident occurred before midday on Monday (May 4). The police said they received an alert concerning the incident shortly after noon.
The man cycled away after injuring the NParks officer but the police arrested him within two hours of the incident. He is now under investigation for possession of offensive weapons in public places and breach of safe distancing measures, according to the police, who have remanded him for further questioning. They will also obtain a court order for the man to undergo psychiatric assessment.
In the meantime, he will be appearing in court on May 6 (Wednesday) on a charge of attempted murder, for which he could be jailed for up to 15 years and fined, if he should be found guilty. Had he been younger than 50, he could have also been caned for the offence.
“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,” said the police.
NParks and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources issued a joint statement concerning the matter. “We are appalled and deeply concerned by the vicious attack on a safe distancing enforcement officer from the National Parks Board today,” the statement said.
The officer is still in hospital undergoing medical treatment and will receive support from the authorities.
The statement added that there is zero tolerance for this kind of egregious violence.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli also commented on the incident in a Facebook post.
Am shocked that one of our Enforcement Officers, from NParks, was attacked today by a member of the public who was not…
“I would like to underscore that any form of abuse or attack against public officers constitutes a grave offence,” he said, adding that officers have worked tirelessly and made personal sacrifices to keep Singapore safe.
“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.” /TISG
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