SINGAPORE (CNA) – A 62-year-old man admitted yesterday to stabbing and slashing a safe distancing enforcement officer at Singapore’s Sungei Serangoon Park Connector in 2020, almost severing the victim’s thumb.
Ahirrudin Al-Had Haji Arrifin pleaded guilty to one count each of voluntarily causing grievous hurt, unlawfully possessing a scheduled weapon and violating COVID-19 control orders by not wearing a mask.
The man was emotional in court, interrupting the reading of the charges to tell the judge that he was crying because he was “sad”. He is set to be sentenced next week.
The victim, a 38-year-old employee of the National Parks Board (NParks), suffered serious injuries to both hands as well as his chest, arm and scalp. He underwent general and hand surgery and received 89 days of medical leave.
The court heard that on the morning of May 4, 2020, Ahirrudin cycled to the park connector intending to pick pandan leaves for cooking. He was not wearing a mask.
Singapore’s “circuit breaker” to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was in effect at the time.
Ahirrudin brought with him two knives with blades about 10cm long, hiding them under the insoles of his shoes. He intended to use these to cut the leaves.
He also had with him a nearly one-metre-long walking stick that contained a 20.8cm-long
blade at its lower end, concealed by a wooden sheath with a rubber stopper. The walking stick was previously taped to his bicycle.
The victim was driving through the park connector in a buggy with another enforcement officer when he spotted the accused, who was not wearing a mask, and the pandan leaves in his bicycle basket.
The two officers approached the man, telling him that he was not allowed to cut the pandan leaves at the park connector and asked him to wear a mask.
As Ahirrudin remained uncooperative, the victim took a photograph of him violating COVID-19 rules and asked for his particulars, which the man refused to give. The victim then called the police and took a video of the man.
This angered Ahiruddin further. He unsheathed the blade of his walking stick and stabbed the left side of the victim’s chest. He later entered the buggy and forcefully pushed the blade at least two more times.
Both men fell out of the buggy onto a grass patch and Ahiruddin dropped the walking stick. He retrieved one of the karambit knives from his shoe and slashed the victim with it, almost severing the victim’s left thumb.
The prosecution sought 12 to 15 years’ jail, arguing that public interest was one of the main considerations for sentencing as the actions of the accused “undermined” the safety and confidence of safe distancing officers.
The prosecution also cited the high level of harm caused by the accused. According to a doctor, the stabs to the victim’s chest could have been fatal if the blade had entered his heart.