SINGAPORE - The family of four kept to themselves, so much that neighbours do not even remember when they moved into their flat, only that it was several years ago.
One neighbour remembers them as a quiet family who would exchange pleasantries if their paths crossed.
And none of them had ever heard loud noises or quarrels coming from the family's third-storey flat at Block 632, Bedok Reservoir Road. But yesterday afternoon, something happened to change all that. From some accounts, the husband had grabbed a knife and threatened to kill himself after quarrelling with his wife.
For residents in the block, the first signs of trouble were the arrival of the police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) at about 3.30pm.
What followed was a three-hour stand-off as the police tried to coax the man, who had locked himself in the flat, to surrender himself.
During the negotiations, SCDF officers set up a one-storey-tall safety life air pack below the window of the man's flat in case he decided to jump.
The tense stand-off attracted about 80 curious onlookers, including a 58-year-old taxi driver who had stopped by for food when he saw police officers standing around the block's carpark.
The curious cabby, who wanted to be known only as Mr Hashim, stayed to see how the situation would be resolved. Like many of the onlookers, he said he did not know what was going on.
One passer-by said she had heard that the incident had started at about 3pm, after the man quarrelled with his wife and then locked himself in their flat.
The New Paper understands that the couple have two teenage sons, who were not home at the time.
It is believed that the husband had been depressed and was on medication.
It is not known who alerted the police and SCDF, but when they arrived, the man was in the flat, holding a knife. A woman, believed to be his wife, and a man, thought to be her brother, were outside the flat.
A man who works at a nearby market said he was driving past when he saw a fire engine, a Red Rhino, two support vehicles, an ambulance and at least four police cars.
The man, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said: "I saw many police officers. I later heard that someone had locked himself inside his flat with a knife."
The police set up a cordon around the block and police negotiators reached the scene shortly after 4pm.
A police Special Operations Command vehicle arrived after 5pm and five officers in riot gear headed up to the flat.
At about 6pm, the door of the flat was knocked open with a door-breaching tool. About 15 minutes later, SCDF officers escorted a man in handcuffs down the stairs. His hair was streaked with white and his face was bloodied. He also had cuts on his nose, cheeks and neck.
He was placed on a stretcher and made to wear a face mask before being wheeled to a nearby ambulance.
It is not known how the man had sustained the injuries to his face. When asked, a police spokesman said they were unable to reveal anything more at that point.
He said that the man, who is in his 50s, was arrested for attempted suicide. The man was taken to Changi General Hospital. TNP understands that no one else was injured in the incident.
Police investigations are ongoing.
A resident who said he lives next to the family and who wanted to known be only as Mr Siva was returning to his flat with groceries when he was stopped by the police cordon.
He said: "I've lived in my unit for seven to eight months and it has been very peaceful. There have been no problems and none of my neighbours have been quarrelling."
Mr Siva said the flat where the stand-off occurred belongs to a middle-aged couple with two teenage children.
Another neighbour, who declined to be named, said: "They don't really talk much to neighbours, just the occasional greeting when we meet in the corridor."
This article was first published on July 05, 2014.
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