Eight arrested after man dies in Orchard Towers attack
Four men and one woman to be charged with murder tomorrow; other suspects still under investigation
Like many people heading to work, Mr Nguyen, 30, was shocked to see a man lying in a pool of blood at the entrance of Orchard Towers at 6.20am yesterday.
The retail store manager, who wanted to be known only by his surname, said several people were trying desperately to stem the heavy bleeding with packets of tissue paper.
"The man was alive but visibly shaking. I saw blood on his (shirt) collar and a cut above his eyebrow," Mr Nguyen told The New Paper.
The 31-year-old victim was taken in an ambulance to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
The police said in a statement yesterday evening that they received a call for assistance at Orchard Towers at 6.25am.
Within 12 hours of the attack, they had identified and arrested eight suspects between the ages of 22 and 27. Two of them are women.
Four men and one woman will be charged tomorrow with murder with common intention, the police added.
If convicted, the accused could face the death penalty.
Investigations are ongoing for the other suspects.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Investigations and Intelligence) Florence Chua commended the officers for their work.
"The police are committed to keeping Singapore safe and we will spare no effort to track down offenders to ensure that they are brought swiftly to justice and face the full brunt of the law," added DCP Chua, who is also the Criminal Investigation Department chief.
When TNP was at Orchard Towers at around 1pm, the police had cordoned off the entrance to the building.
Parts of the second storey were also cordoned off for investigations to be carried out.
In close-circuit TV footage from one of the shops, a group of people can be seen intercepting the victim at the bottom of an escalator leading to the entrance before attacking him at 6.12am.
The fight started because of a woman, and one of the assailants later took out a knife and slit the victim's throat, Shin Min Daily News reported.
Mr Nguyen told TNP: "I see fights three or four times a week, but they were never so bad. I hope something like this won't happen again."
A man was later seen setting up joss sticks and a can of beer to pray for the victim.
A store owner who requested not to be named said her workers called her at around 7am.
"They were so scared when they arrived and saw someone lying on the floor outside the building's entrance."
TNP asked 10 shop tenants if fights in the past had affected their business. All said they were not affected as most incidents occur while they were closed.
Ms Mary Joy, 37, a bartender, said: "We close at midnight so I don't see many fights. If there are, it is because it is early in the morning and they are drunk."
Past cases at Orchard Towers
The mixed-use 18-storey Orchard Towers, on the corner of Claymore and Orchard roads, has retail outlets, offices and residential units. But its notoriety comes from its girlie bars, sex shops and beauty parlours, which led to it being dubbed the "four floors of whores".
In 2002, Orchard Towers made the news when the bodies of two murder victims, driver Kho Nai Guan, 46, and his fiancee Lan Ya Ming, 30, were found in a car abandoned on the sixth storey of the carpark.
Kho's friend, Michael McCrea, a British expatriate in his 40s who fled to Australia, and his accomplice, Audrey Ong, were later jailed for the murders.
In 2016, a French national died after he was attacked by two men. His assailants were later jailed and caned.
More recent incidents include:
- A 22-year-old woman was molested twice by a man, 33, outside the Naughty Girl Club in September 2016;
- Several men, including one armed with a spanner, attacked a 44-year-old man, who was taken to hospital, in April 2017;
- A man, 25, was arrested for rioting outside Orchard Towers in March last year. He was seen in a video throwing a bottle at another man and pushing a man onto an oncoming car; and
- A woman was jailed for assaulting a police officer by shoving and choking him when he tried to question her in August last year. - JOHN TAN