Man detained and charged over fire outside police post in Boon Keng

A 31-year-old man has been detained over a fire in front of a neighbourhood police post in Boon Keng. PHOTOS: STOMP, KELVIN TAN

SINGAPORE - A 30-year-old man has been arrested and charged over a fire in front of a neighbourhood police post (NPP) in Boon Keng, the police said.

No one was injured in the incident, which police said was not an act of terrorism.

The man, who acted alone, had set fire to a few bags of clothes using petrol or diesel, and smashed the glass door of the NPP, said police.

Although he had scribbled “ISIS” on several pillars near the police post, preliminary investigations showed that he was a “disgruntled person unhappy with the perceived social inequality”, said the police.

Singaporean Sivaprakash Mailravanan was charged  on Saturday  (March 14) with mischief by fire. He will be remanded for further investigations and the police will seek a court order to send him for psychiatric assessment.

The Straits Times got to the scene in Towner Road just after midnight on Saturday and saw vulgarities scrawled on the void deck walls surrounding the police post. “ISIS” was visible on at least three walls. The glass panels of the police post at Block 105 Towner Road were also shattered.

 Residents reported hearing loud explosions from the police post at around 11pm. 

Ms Renie Cheong, 17, said she saw the fire erupt in front of the police post as she was walking home from nearby Boon Keng MRT station. 

As the fire was raging, said Ms Cheong, a man walked to a lorry parked in front of the station to retrieve a spray paint can and scrawled “ISIS” on a nearby wall

“I was quite calm, but I was thinking who would want to play with fireworks down here,” she said.

Ms Cheong said the man had also “jumped on top of the truck and scattered poker cards on the floor” after spraying graffiti on several walls. 

There was music blaring from the lorry, she said.

There were at least five to six successive “explosion-like” sounds, she added. 

Mr Frankie Wong, 60, said he had heard the explosions from two blocks away, and rushed down after seeing smoke emanating from the police post.

This just happened outside the police post infront of Boon Keng mrt station (105 Towner road). Thankfully, our Singapore...

Posted by Tarlo Gill on Friday, March 13, 2020

“I knew it was something big, so I ran down,’ said the Towner resident. 

Videos of the incident circulating on social media showed the man stripping off his top with what looks to be a knife in his hand, as firemen put out the fire behind him.

Aftermath of vandalism and explosion case at Kallang Neighbourhood Police Post. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Mr Heng Chee How, MP for Jalan Besar (GRC), said on Facebook that the police post was unmanned.

He said he was relieved no one was hurt, and had reassured residents at the scene that the police will ensure the estate is safe and secure.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said the fire, which also involved aerosol cans, was extinguished with a hosereel, air foam backpacks, and an extinguisher.

If found guilty of mischief by fire, the man could be jailed for up to seven years and fined. 

Additional reporting by Caryn Tan

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.