A 57-year-old man drowned after he allegedly tried to wash his hands, which had been soiled with dog droppings, at the Kallang River on Saturday afternoon.
The incident sparked a nearly two-hour search by authorities for his body.
The victim, Mr Suhaimi Abu Bakar, had been spotted near the river at Block 14A, Upper Boon Keng Road around 2.30pm.
An eyewitness, Mr Liu, who was fishing nearby, told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao that he had seen Mr Suhaimi take some newspapers from a rubbish bin.
"I was not sure if he wanted the newspaper so he could spread it on the floor to sit down, or to read it," said the 33-year-old Mr Liu, who works in a glass factory.
Mr Liu claimed that the newspapers had been smeared with dog droppings, which caused Mr Suhaimi to dirty his hands. The latter then climbed over the railings and was seen trying to wash his hands in the river.
"Ten minutes later, I heard a 'plop' sound and when I turned around, he (Mr Suhaimi) was nowhere to be seen. I ran over but the water was murky and I could not see much," Mr Liu said.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted around 2.45pm.
It conducted surface search operations and deployed two pairs of divers, who recovered Mr Suhaimi's body from the river around 4.30pm.
He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Mr Suhaimi's close friend, 61-year-old Mr Kamrudin, told Wanbao they had arranged to meet for one of their regular chats in the area, which they had fond memories of as they had grown up there.
"At the time of the incident, I had left him alone for a while to buy drinks. By the time I returned, there were lots of police officers and I found out he had fallen into the river," said Mr Kamrudin.
SCDF also dispatched a fire engine, two fire bikes, a Red Rhino, an ambulance and a support vehicle to the scene.
A police spokesman said the incident is being investigated as an unnatural death.
This article by The Straits Times was published in The New Paper, a free newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.