For more than an hour, there was a shouting match, followed by a very loud thud, crying and more shouting.
Then total silence.
This was what an Ang Mo Kio resident heard from the flat above hers from 7.30am on Thursday.
Hours later, the police found a woman, 30, dead in a two-room unit on the ninth storey of Block 406, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, after receiving a call at about 12.30pm.
They later arrested a man, 40, for the murder of the woman, who is believed to be a foreigner. He had abrasions on his left cheek and forehead.
The New Paper understands that the man was in the flat when police arrived and the woman's body found in the bedroom. No murder weapon was found.
Recalling the incident, the resident, Ms Ina Haneysha, 27, said she was just about to take a nap after returning from an early morning run when she heard the commotion.
The make-up artist told TNP: "I was going to sleep when I heard noises like a woman crying. She was speaking in Vietnamese or Thai.
"I also heard a man who sounded very sad and disappointed. They fought and then I heard the sound of something banging against a wardrobe."
She described the sound as a very loud thud, as if someone had thrown something against the wardrobe.
After the banging sounds, she continued to hear a woman crying and a man shouting until about 9am, when it stopped suddenly.
Ms Ina, who was traumatised after finding out about the murder, said: "I thought she had stopped crying because she was tired. I am so shocked. I didn't expect that she would be gone."
Although arguments and quarrelling from the unit were common, she said Thursday's commotion at that time in the morning was unusual.
"They usually fight in the middle of the night. It was usual for them to fight and argue until about 4am. He would shout and she would cry," she said.
Neighbours living on the same floor as the suspect said they had often seen groups of different women going in and out of the flat.
Some of them would stay there for a few weeks to a few months and then be replaced by other women.
They would go out wearing sexy clothes and heavy make-up late at night and return in the wee hours, the neighbours said.
Mr Vincent Edward, 21, who lives next door to the suspect, said he had seen the man with groups of women.
"They always had arguments. He was always quarrelling with the girls," he said. "Once I heard him fighting with a woman and there was pushing on the front gate. I could hear him say in Mandarin, 'Leave, go away'."
Mr Vincent, who is not working, said the police went to the flat several times last year when the quarrels got out of hand.
He said the quarrels had been going on almost every day since his neighbour moved in about four years ago.
"My late mother told me that his ex-wife used to live there. When he came out of prison, he moved into the unit and the ex-wife moved out," Mr Vincent said.
Recalling Thursday's incident, he said: "I was playing computer games when I heard a very loud thump against the wall. It happened in between their arguments.
"It must have been very loud because I had my earphones on."
He said he didn't really pay attention to the couple's arguments because "there's always quarrelling".
Ms Alice Yeow, who owns a nearby furniture shop, recognised the suspect when she was shown a photograph of him.
"He has been to my shop to look at furniture. He said his girlfriend had bought things from me," she said.
When told that a woman had been found dead in his flat, Ms Yeow, who's in her 30s, asked: "Is she a Vietnamese woman?"
She recalled that a Vietnamese woman had bought a single mattress from her about two months ago.
"She's very pretty and has long hair. She knows how to speak Mandarin," she added.
The police said they received a call for assistance at 12.33pm on Thursday.
When they arrived, they found the body of a 30-year-old woman lying motionless in a unit of the block.
The woman was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.
Police investigations are ongoing.
Neighbour: 'He changes women like changing clothes'
Groups of women in their 20s, wearing sexy clothes, heavy make-up and stilettoes, were a common sight at a unit in Block 406, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10.
The women, believed to be foreigners, would stay there for weeks or months and then leave.
Another batch of girls would arrive to take their place.
Residents living near the flat said this went on for the past few years, with last year being the "peak period".
But the flow of women slowed down to a trickle this year.
A woman, 30, was found dead in the two-room flat on Thursday.
A man, 40, believed to be living there, was arrested for murder.
His neighbours said they had often seen him with different women.
Ms Susan Ng, a retiree in her 60s, said the women usually went out at about 11pm and got back around 4am.
She said: "When the girls went out at night, they were very well-dressed with heavy make-up.
"They wore low-cut tops, exposing tattoos and spaghetti-strap tops. Some were in jeans, some in short skirts, with their hair all done up.
"When they came back, I could hear the sound of stilettoes clacking. I'm a light sleeper so every time I heard the sound, I would see what time it was."
She said she had heard the women calling the man "Jack".
The women kept to themselves and did not cause trouble, she added.
"As long as they didn't disturb us, we didn't call the police," she said.
A neighbour, Mr Letchmana Rajalingam, 61, a security guard, described the man as a "nice guy".
Echoing the sentiment, Madam Zaidah Mokhtar, 39, said in Malay: "I was shocked when I heard the news. When I'm with my husband, he would say hello. He told us that he worked part-time."
She had also seen women going in and out of the man's flat.
The housewife said: "He changes women like changing clothes. There were always new girls. Usually, there were about two or three girls.
"They would stay about two to three months and then the girls would change. The girls were usually Chinese, Vietnamese or Thai."
Other neighbours said the man seldom mixed with them, but could always be seen drinking at a nearby coffee shop.
Said Ms Ng: "He looked fierce so nobody really talked to him. He has tattoos all over his body - on his neck, hands and legs."
She said she had often heard him using Hokkien vulgarities.
"If he's on the phone, he's always scolding bad words."
Ms Ng also said that from her observations, some of the women would leave and reappear later.
She said: "Sometimes, the girls would go away and then after about six months, I would see them again."
RECENT MURDER CASES
Koh Sook Hoon, 42, was charged with the murder of her seven-year-old son, who is believed to be autistic. The boy was found lying face down at the foot of a Housing Board block in Tampines on Sept 13.
Four Malaysians were charged with the murder of S. Krisnan Value, 47, at a multi-storey carpark at Pearls Centre. On Sept 7, Mr Krisnan's body was found lying at an abandoned section of the carpark on the 11th storey of the building.
Three Indian nationals were charged with the murder of Mr Murugaiya Suresh Kumar, a 26-year-old technician from India. He was found dead at Pandan Loop on Aug 23.
Char Chin Fah, 80, was charged with the murder of his daughter-in-law, Madam Ong Guat Leng, 54. He allegedly murdered her on Aug 21 in their home at Block 440, Tampines Street 43.
This article was first published on November 21, 2014.
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