Area where woman was slashed like a ghost town
Pedestrians still use dark path leading to Commonwealth MRT station despite last week's slashing incident in the area
She was walking home after work one evening last month when she was ambushed by a flasher.
The woman who wanted to be known as Celine, 28, said: "This happened just a month ago. I called the police because I saw a man who flashed me his genitals.
"One of my colleagues had a similar experience."
The 140m-long footpath where Celine saw the flasher extends from Biomedical Grove, a road in the research and development centre Biopolis, and is used as a short cut to Commonwealth MRT station.
It is the same area where a 27-year-old woman was assaulted last Saturday.
The New Paper understands the victim is a research officer at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).
She is believed to have been alone when she was slashed by an unknown assailant. The motive for the attack is not known.
TNP learnt that the victim sustained a 2cm cut near her left jaw and went to the National University Hospital by herself after the incident.
When contacted, an A*Star spokesman said the victim was recovering from her injury.
A police spokesman said the case has been classified as voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon. The suspect is still at large and no weapon was found at the scene.
Celine, who works in the chemicals industry, said she was aware that an incident had taken place there but still took the same route last evening.
"I didn't know a weapon was involved," she said.
"I thought it was just a flashing incident and figured I could probably deal with it. The flashing incident was disturbing but it wasn't dangerous.
"This is the shortest way to Commonwealth MRT station."
Following last week's assault, A*Star sent a circular to its staff on Monday, encouraging them to walk to Buona Vista MRT Station instead of Commonwealth MRT Station.
But some A*Star employees have continued taking the same footpath where the assault took place.
A research officer who wanted to be known as Gillian, 28, was walking alone when TNP spotted her at 6.30pm.
She said she was aware of the assault but it was not at the top of her worries.
"It did cross my mind that if something happens here, nobody would know. But it's a short walk to the MRT station. I suppose it's okay when it's still bright," she said.
An A*Star research fellow who wanted to be known as Reyhan said the route is dim at night.
"I have to take this route because I live in Commonwealth Drive.
"It gets a little quiet after 8pm but I see foreign workers around sometimes, so I think it should be okay," he said.
The short-cut route to Commonwealth MRT Station takes pedestrians past unoccupied blocks of flats after the last of their former residents relocated in 2013.
Fusionopolis researcher Jiang Simin, 30, said he is used to walking past the vacant HDB blocks, even as late as 11pm.
But when he was told that someone was attacked in the area last week, his eyes widened with shock.
"Really? I didn't know that," he said, his gaze moving to the police message board placed at the end of the footpath.
"I think I will reconsider my route if I were to work late into the night."
The A*Star spokesman said that all staff members have been advised to avoid the footpath till further notice.
As this is now a police case and investigations are ongoing, she declined to reveal details about the assault.
A walk in the dark
At 6.30pm, the footpath seemed like the best way to get to Commonwealth MRT station. It's just a 10-minute walk away, if you cut through the former rail corridor and past an abandoned HDB estate.
The route is popular with employees from research and development centre Biopolis, as I observed last evening.
Droves of people chatted happily as they walked down the flight of steps extending from Biomedical Grove, a road in Biopolis.
The steps, which lead to Tanglin Halt estate, is flanked by lush greenery. If anything were to happen, people would be within earshot, I thought.
But at about 8pm, the number of pedestrians started to dwindle and the atmosphere changed drastically.
The rustle of the leaves sent chills down my spine. Suddenly, the bushes, which are part of the former rail corridor, now known as the Greenway, turned into ideal hiding spots for anyone waiting to ambush unsuspecting passers-by.
Most of the time, I only had mosquitoes and crickets for company on the dimly-lit path.
I was also startled by a bat that suddenly flew over my head, thinking it was someone waving something at my head.
People had moved out of the flats in Tanglin Halt in 2013 after the estate was selected for the Housing Development Board's Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme.
The neglected estate looked like a ghost town - gloomy, abandoned and eerily quiet.
The carpark in the estate was barely illuminated by lights from the void decks and a handful of street lamps.
From a distance, I spotted some men, who looked like foreign workers, sitting at the void deck of one of the vacant blocks.
When some of them walked towards me, they looked flushed as though they had been drinking.
After what seemed like the longest five minutes of my life, I finally reached the end of Tanglin Halt estate.
It was only when I heard the buzz from the shophouses and a condominium across the road that I felt safe again.
A 26-year-old woman was making her way back to The Infiniti condominium at about 9.30pm when she was attacked on her head. She was on a dimly-lit path at West Coast Park. When she pretended to faint, she was sexually assaulted by the man.
A 47-year-old woman was jogging in Bukit Batok Neighbourhood Park at about 9pm when she was raped and robbed by a Malaysian steelwork supervisor. He had gone to the park with two cans of beer when he spotted her and found her attractive.
A 39-year-old woman was walking home past midnight when she was assaulted at the void deck of her flat in the vicinity of Hougang Avenue 1. The male assailant grabbed her handbag and fled. A 16-year-old was arrested for alleged assault and robbery.
A student in her 20s was sexually assaulted when she was in a park linking the National University of Singapore to West Coast Road. The path is quiet and flanked by dense vegetation. The student was alone at the time.