Headlines that shook Singapore (since 1955)

Below is a collection of some of the biggest headlines that shook the Singapore society since 1955, when Singapore was given self-governance (Extending the timeline from the previous version of “1970 to Present”). The headlines are categorised into Social Unrest, Politics, Accidents, Terrorism, Disasters and Others.

Please feel free to contribute and I will update accordingly.

Self Governance (1955-1961)

12 May 1955 – Hock Lee Bus Strike
(Social Unrest)

Protesting against long hours, poor benefits and working conditions, the workers of Singapore Bus Workers Union (SBWU) organised a peaceful demonstration on 23 April 1955.

Large number of drivers were dismissed by Hock Lee Bus Company, who in turn protested by locking themselves in the garages at Alexandra Road. Soon, students from Chinese middle schools took sympathy of the drivers and joined in the protests. The government viewed the strike as pro-communist and anti-colonial.

The mob grew to a strength of 2000 and riots broke out between the angry protesters and the police, resulting in four deaths and 33 injuries. Two policemen, a student and a reporter were killed in the conflicts.

Negotiation between the bus company owners and the union took place on 14 May before bus services were resumed two days later.

24 October 1956 – Chinese Middle Schools Riots
(Social Unrest)

When the Chief Minister of Singapore David Marshall resigned in 1956, Lim Yew Hock took over and implemented tough measures on pro-communist organisations. The Singapore Chinese Middle School Students Union (SCMSSU) was forced to close down.

Students gathered at the Chinese High School and Chung Cheng High School for protests, and refused to soften their stand even after their parents’ persuasion. On 26 October, police forced their ways into the schools and dispersed the students using tear gas.

The angry students took to the streets, throwing stones at the police and overturning the cars. Curfews were imposed by the government, as more than 900 were arrested. The riots caused 13 lives and left more than 100 injured. The detainees were released in 1959 after the People’s Action Party (PAP) won the election to form the government.

10 June 1957 – Transfer of Christmas Island
(Politics)

After World War II, Christmas Island was placed under the administration of the Colony of Singapore. Phosphate was discovered, leading to a booming mining industry which required large number of labourers from Singapore.

By 1957, with the independence of Singapore becoming more imminent, the British proposed the transfer of Christmas Island to Australia. Taking consideration of the losses in phosphate mining, Australia compensated the self-government of Singapore a total of 2.9 million pounds. The transfer took effect on 1 October 1958.

This event contributed indirectly to the political downfall of Second Chief Minister of Singapore Lim Yew Hock, who was blamed by the public for not trying hard enough in securing the sovereignty of Christmas Island.

25 May 1961 – Bukit Ho Swee Fire
(Accidents)

A disaster that had a direct impact on the development of public housing in our country, Bukit Ho Swee Fire took away a life, injured dozens and made at least 16,000 homeless. Most of the attap houses in the squatter settlement were destroyed as the fire spread quickly by the strong winds in the late afternoon.

The root cause of this disaster, the largest fire ever in Singapore’s history, remains unknown till this day.

The self-government of Singapore acted quickly to build public flats in Queenstown and other estates over the next four years to reallocate the refugees.

7 May 1962
(Crime)

Two young gang members of “The Little Black Wind Gang” kidnapped a 12-year-old boy at Karikal Lane and demanded a $100,000 ransom. See Ah Wang, the boy’s father and a prominent Chinese contractor, eventually paid only $6,000 for his release after 13 days.

The kidnappers Robert Tang Keng Lock and Lim Kheng Tiong were caught three months later, and were sentenced to life with 10 strokes of cane.

Merger with Malaysia (1962-1965)

2 February 1963
(Politics)

Under “Operation Coldstore”, 111 people deemed anti-government leftists with a plan to build a communist Singapore were arrested and detained.

12 July 1963
(Social Unrest)

Prison riots erupted at Pulau Senang caused deaths of four prison officers, including Daniel Stanley Dutton, the Superintendent in charged of the island. More than 50 rioters were trialed, with 18 prisoners sentenced to death.

27 August 1963
(Crime)

Sunny Ang (1939-1967) was sentenced to death after he was found guilty of murdering bar waitress Jenny Cheok Cheng Kid for her insurance.

In August 1963, Ang, a rich playboy-turned-bankrupt, brought Jenny, who was insured for a total of $450,000, to Sisters’ Islands for diving. The body was never found.

21 July 1964 – Prophet Muhammad Birthday Riots
(Social Unrest)

During the merging with Malaysia, the Singapore society was filled with unstable racial, religious and political elements.

On 21 July 1964, tens of thousands of Malays gathered at Padang to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday. During their march to Geylang, the groups got into conflicts with the police, which worsened to riots by the evening. The government had to impose curfews, but 36 people died in the violent events. More than 3000 were arrested, while the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) of Malaysia and People’s Action Party (PAP) of Singapore pointed fingers at each other.

Another major riot happened again in September, when a Malay trishaw-driver was suspected to be murdered by a group of Chinese gangsters in Geylang Serai. The series of racial riots and violence played an important part for Singapore to withdraw from the merging of one Malaysia.

10 March 1965 – MacDonald House Bombing
(Terrorism)

During the peak of Konfrontasi (1962-1966) between Indonesia and Malaysia, Singapore became an victim of terrorism when Indonesia sent two commandos to plant a bomb at the MacDonald House (formerly known as Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Building).

Then Indonesian president Sukarno was openly opposed to the merging of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, and ordered armed attacks in East Malaysia, incited revolts in Brunei and carried out sabotage activities in West Malaysia and Singapore.

There were dozens of bombing in Singapore, and the one at MacDonald House was the most serious of all as two bank employees were killed and 33 injured. The two Indonesian saboteurs were caught and hanged in 1968.

5 August 1965
(Crime)

Some of Singapore’s most notorious kidnappers and gunmen Morgan Teo, Oh Kim Kee and Lim Bah Lim escaped after killing an inspector in an exchanged gunfire with the police at Siang Lim Park. Both Morgan Teo and Lim Bah Lim were eventually killed by the police and Gurkhas after weeks of raids.

Post-Independence (1966-1970)

29 October 1967
(Others)

Rumours spread among hundreds of Singaporean Chinese that the disease of koro (shrinking penis) was caused by eating pork inoculated with anti-swine-fever vaccine. As many as 97 Chinese men rushed to the emergency department of Singapore General Hospital in one day. The rumours faded away after one month.

14 July 1968
(Accidents)

More than 10 villagers from Kampong Bereh ventured into a prohibited area to pick rambutans during a live artillery exercise at Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute Firing Ground at Choa Chu Kang. Four of the trespassers were killed, while nine were left injured.

31 May to 6 June 1969 – Seven-Day Racial Riots
(Social Unrest)

The Singapore society remained shaky after independence in 1965. On 13 May 1969, the largest riot erupted in Kuala Lumpur (KL), capital of Malaysia, due to the rising tensions between the Malaysian Malays and Malaysian Chinese.

Soon, rumours began to spread here that the Singaporean Malays, a minority in Singapore, would be subjected to revenge after Malaysian Chinese were unfairly treated by the Malaysian government. Chinese secret societies began plans to attack the Malay-majority Jalan Ubi and Jalan Kayu. The Malay triads retaliated by burning Chinese shophouses in Geylang.

The Internal Security Department (ISD) of Singapore worked with the police to quash all conflicts, but the seven-day riots still caused at least four deaths and 80 injuries. The mounting tensions between the two races continued for another couple of years, but the government made efforts to ensure such high level of violence would not happen again.

11 December 1969
(Disasters)

The worst floods in 35 years saw the Hari Raya holiday ruined when heavy thunderstorms swept Singapore and disrupted electricity, water and telephone services. Trees were uprooted and landslides occurred. Almost three-quarters of the island were affected by the rising floodwater, resulting in 3 deaths.

8 February 1970
(Accidents)

22-year-old Susan Lim of The Crescendos, a popular local band in the sixties, was swept away by strong waves during a holiday trip at the Kemaman beach at Trengganu. Her body was never recovered. With the loss of their lead singer, The Crescendos disbanded and never regrouped again.

Struggles of a New Nation (1971-1975)

29 December 1971
(Crime)

The case of “Gold Bar Murders” where businessman Ngo Cheng Poh was killed for his 120 gold bars. Seven were hanged while three escaped death due to underage.

18 September 1972
(Crime)

A 22-year-old seamstress Cheng Lizhen was walking with her sister along Tanglin Halt when she was hit by a bullet straight at her heart. She died from the fatal wound at the Singapore General Hospital. The police suspected a sniper was hiding in one of the high-rise buildings but the case remains a mystery till today.

21 November 1972
(Accidents)

114-year-old Robinson’s Department Store at Raffles Place was destroyed in a huge fire that also claimed nine lives and property loss of $14 million.

At the time of the fire, there were some 350 employees and 200 shoppers in the departmental store. Most of the consumer goods went up in flames, and the glare of the fire was said to be visible as far as Jurong at a height of more than 60m.

07 March 1973
(Others)

A black panther on the loose set off a massive hunt in the Seletar-Mandai Road area.

The three-year-old panther, acquired from Thailand just six days earlier, was one of three at the zoo which was scheduled to open the following month. It was reported missing the previous evening.

The police hunted in teams of five and eight. Just before noon, one police party opened fire when it spotted movement in the jungle along the zoo boundary. But the animal turned out to be a bear that had also escaped from the zoo a few days earlier.

12 July 1973
(Crime)

20-year-old Hoo How Seng, from Pontian of Johor, shot dead Detective Ong Poh Heng at East Coast Road. The wanted man, who was involved in smuggling and robbery earlier, was shot six times in the head and body after a police ambush at his Cavanagh Road flat nine days later.

26 November 1973
(Others)

The worldwide oil shortage hit the Singapore stock market hard in a “Black Monday” as a total value of $1 billion was wiped out in the selling frenzy.

2 January 1974
(Others)

Darkness covered 90% of Singapore, a scene not seen since the fifties, as the worst blackout since the Second World War affected Singapore’s 2 million population for more than 6 hours. More than 100 PUB engineers were recalled to restore the supply at the power stations, but the island was hit by another major blackout 4 days later.

31 January 1974
(Terrorism)

Two Japanese and two Arab terrorists of the Japanese Red Army and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) bombed Pulau Bukom’s Shell oil refinery and hijacked a ferryboat called Laju. Holding hostages, the terrorists were granted their wish to fly to Kuwait on 7 February after days of intense negotiations. This terrorist act was later known as “Bukom Bombers” or “Laju Incident”.

20 December 1974
(Terrorism)

The members of the Communist Party of Malaya attempted to sabotage Nanyang Manufacturing Company by planting bombs at the director’s residence but their car exploded at Still Road, killing two and injuring one.

02 May 1975
(Politics)

Operation Thunderstorm kicked off when the first wave of 300 Vietnamese refugees arrived at Singapore on a vessel named Troung Hai. The refugees had escaped from Vietnam following the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War (1955-1975).

More than 8,000 refugees arrived near Singapore in two weeks. Many boats were intercepted by the Republic of Singapore Navy and the Police Coastal Guard. Some refugees were quarantined at Marine Parade and Bedok Jetty, while others were housed temporarily at Hawkins Road in Sembawang. The rest of the refugees were denied from entering Singapore.

24 July 1975
(Crime)

Four robbers, cladding only in swimming trunks and dabbling in black magic, terrorised Singaporeans as they committed more than 200 armed robberies, housebreaking, assaults and rape. Hiding at Bidadari Cemetery, they were not caught until 30 months later.

The four “swimming trunk” robbers were sentenced to a total of 64 years’ imprisonment.

18 August 1975
(Crime)

After making a suicide pact with his wife Neo Yoke Kua, 24, pork-seller Lim Back Yong, 27, drove his borrowed car to Sembawang and plunged it into the waters off Mata Jetty. At the last moment, Lim backed out and escaped, leaving his wife drowned. He was later imprisoned for 10 years for culpable homicide.

The couple had been married for eight years and had two children, and the cause of the tragedy was believed to be sparked off by a series of family problems, including Neo’s suspicion of Lim’s unfaithfulness.

Rapid Economic Growth (1976-1985)

12 October 1978 – The Spyros Disaster
(Accidents)

It was the worst industrial accident in Singapore’s history. At about 2pm of 12 October 1978, Liberian-registered Greek tanker Spyros exploded at the Jurong shipyard, killing 76 people and injuring hundreds.

Due to the after-lunch timing, the number of casualties increased dramatically, as many workers were returning to the repair works. Many were burnt to death. Others suffered serious burns and inhalation of toxic gases.

During the seventies, safety practices at the shipyard was not strongly enforced. A repair cutting tool might have caused the sparks to ignite the vapour of the crude oil on the tanker. More safety regulations were implemented after the disaster.

2 December 1978
(Disasters)

Huge monsoon rains caused disastrous floods in areas from Bishan to Potong Pasir. Seven person were drown, hundreds were evacuated from their homes, massive amount of crops were destroyed and thousands of pigs and poultry died. Total damage was estimated to be S$10 million.

6 January 1979
(Crime)

It was one of the most brutal homicides in the recent history of Singapore.

Four children of a Tan family, three boys and a girl aged between 5 and 10, were found murdered in their flat at Geylang Bahru district. They were cruelly slashed to death, with their bodies piled up in the bathroom. The case remains unsolved till this day with no suspects identified, no motives established and no weapons ever recovered.

01 November 1980
(Politics)

The former SIA Pilots Association (SIApa) initiated a work-to-rule action after negotiations broke down, and the month-long dispute had disrupted many international flights. The expatriate pilots had earlier demanded higher pays and better benefits. Then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew stepped in and confronted the pilots: “I don’t want to do you in, but I won’t let anybody do Singapore in”.

The pilots eventually backed down. SIApa was de-registered a year later, and 15 leaders that incited the strike were charged and convicted.

19 December 1980
(Crime)

National bowler Peter Lew’s mother and 3 siblings were shot dead in a mysterious murder case. The four died in their Joo Chiat home, but no traces of the killer were found as the house was not forced into and nothing was heard by the neighbours.

The case remains unsolved till this day.

January/February 1981 – Adrian Lim Murders
(Crime)

In 1981, the murders of two young children, Agnes Ng Siew Heok and Ghazali bin Marzuki, led to investigations that resulted in the capture of Singapore’s most notorious murderers to date: Adrian Lim, his wife Catherine Tan Mui Choo, and his mistress Hoe Kah Hong.

The murders had opened a complex case involving rituals of human sacrifice, drinking of human blood, as well as sexual perversion. During the days of the trial, crowds of people gathered outside the courts, and the proceedings were closely monitored and reported by the media.

The trial turned out to be the second-longest murder trial in Singapore, lasting as it did for about eight weeks, and unveiling disturbing accounts of rites and rituals that were both cruel and perverse. The trio were ultimately sentenced to death and were hanged on 25 November 1988.

5 February 1982
(Others)

Singapore fell into total darkness as the Jurong Power Station tripped and left Singaporeans without light for 8 hours.

14 April 1982
(Others)

Temperatures rose to a sizzling 35.8degC, smashing the previous record of 34.8degC set in 1948. Singaporeans began to swarm to the swimming pools and beaches, and sales of ice-cream and soft drinks soared.

29 January 1983 – Sentosa Cable Car Accident
(Accidents)

Tragedy struck when the towering structure of a Panamanian-registered oil rig struck the cable of the Sentosa Cable Car and caused two cable cars to plunge 55m into the sea. The disaster, happened shortly after 6 pm, caused thirteen people trapped in four other cable cars between Mount Faber and Sentosa.

This accident was the first involving death or injury since the cable car system opened in 1974. A total of seven people died in the cable car tragedy.

This operation involved all the three Services of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The Diving Unit of the Singapore Navy was assigned to conduct the underwater search for the passengers in the two cable cars which had plunged into the sea, while the 120 Squadron of the RSAF were tasked to rescue the people who were still trapped in the four cable cars as the cars could not be moved along the remaining cables.

Helicopters fitted with floodlights approached the cable cars in strong winds, with the airman winched down to enter the cable-car and pull out the rescued one by one, until all thirteen passengers were brought to safety. The rescue took three and a half hours of risky hovering in darkness and high wind conditions.

23 July 1983
(Crime)

andrew road robbery 1983Robert Tay Bak Hong, a 60-year-old businessman, and his wife and maid were brutally killed in their house at Andrew Road in a cold-blooded armed robbery committed by two youths.

The police surrounded the house for three hours before storming in, but the robbers had already escaped. They were caught a week later.

12 December 1984 – Gruesome Curry Murder
(Crime)

Mr Ayakannu Marithamuthu was murdered on 12 December 1984 at the Orchard Road Presbyterian Church and his body cooked in curry before being disposed of. The case became popularly known as the “Curry Murder”.

Ayakannu’s wife Naragatha, her three brothers, mother and a sister-in-law planned the murder to put an end to Ayakannu’s continuous abuses. To destroy all traces of incriminating evidence, his body was then chopped up into pieces. The body parts were then cooked into a curry which was later tied in different plastic bags to be disposed all over the island to allay suspicions.

Initially, Naragatha and her brothers were charged in 1987 with murder, but they were unconditionally released in June 1991 as the prosecution was unable to prove that it was indeed the family members who caused Ayakannu’s death. The cooking pot in which Ayakannu’s body parts were allegedly cooked could not be found, leaving no traces of the savage act.

23 May 1985
(Crime)

18-year-old Catholic Junior College student Winnifred Teo Suan Lie was the victim of a rape-murder during her jogging along Old Holland Road. The murderer was never caught.

March-June 1985
(Others)

Since 1965, Singapore GDP had been growth at an average rate of 9.7% per year. It was the first time in 20 years that Singapore faced a major test when the recession hit with the growth shrunk to negative 1.7%.

The economy had shown significant decline in 1984, but the worst was in the second quarter of 1985, when the growth recorded a -10.1% on the year-on-year data. It was not until the early 1986 before Singapore slowly pulled itself out of the recession.

02-04 December 1985
(Others)

The Stock Exchange of Singapore (SES) was shut down, for a total of three days, for the first time in history after the collapse of Pan-Electric Industries (Pan-El). Pan-El had defaulted on a $7.5 million payment three weeks earlier, and was discovered to have owed as much as $453 million to 35 banks (its market capitalisation was $230 million during that time).

The stock was subsequently suspended from trading, and thousands of shareholders had their savings wiped out after its rescue plan failed. It was known as the Pan-Electric Crisis, which also caused the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) of Malaysia to shut down for three days. A series of new securities’ regulations was later introduced. In October 1986, Pan-El was officially wound up.

Harmonious Society (1986-1999)

15 March 1986 – New World Hotel Disaster
(Disasters)

Disbelief was shared by Singaporeans when news broke out that the six-storey Hotel New World Hotel at Serangoon Road collapsed. The tragedy claimed 33 lives.

A national disaster, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), hundreds of volunteers and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) worked hand in hand with specialist equipment to rescue the victims. They bravely faced a mammoth task in their attempt to save lives and clear the rubble. The rest of the nation gave help in any way they could: blood, food, money and care.

Companies voluntarily offered the use of specialist equipment worth thousands of dollars. Equipment such as the ultra-high pressure water machines that were able to blast through concrete without causing vibrations and 100-ton cranes to lift heavy concrete slabs facilitated the rescue efforts.

In the 7-day ordeal, People from different walks of life, races and nationalities responded as one. Public service organisations like the Red Cross and hundreds of ordinary Singaporeans came voluntarily and speedily to help. Staff of all the relief aid organisations looked after and alleviated the plight of the families of the victims.

14 December 1986
(Politics)

Then Minister of National Development of Singapore Teh Cheang Wan (1928-1986) committed suicide after allegations of corruption of SGD1 million by Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

14 May 1987 – Two Primary School Boys Went Missing
(Crime)

Where are the missing boys?

Exactly a year earlier, 12-year-old schoolboys Keh Chin Ann and Toh Hong Huat had gone missing.

Despite a huge police search, a poster campaign, a $100,000 reward from MacDonald’s and a feature on television’s Crime Watch program, nothing had emerged which would explain their disappearance.

The two Primary Six students of Owen Primary School were last seen on their way to school. The search for them was extended to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, but proved to be fruitless after many years.

21 May, 20 June 1987 – Operation Spectrum
(Politics)

Accusing 22 Roman Catholic activists of plotting against the government, the Internal Security Department (ISD) carried out a swift arrest of these so-called Marxist conspirators.

The details were never released by the government, while critics were doubtful and pointed out that the alleged detainees were mainly professionals, lawyers, social workers and actors, which hardly fit into the description of a typical political leftist.

Nine accused were arrested again a month later after they complained of mental torture during their detains without trial. Most of the detainees were released one or two years later.

18 December 1988
(Crime)

Lim Keng Peng, nicknamed Ah Huat, became Singapore’s most wanted criminal in 1988 when he shot dead Detective Goh Ah Khia at Upper Serangoon Road. He was gunned down at a kopitiam at Sunset Way by a submachine gun used by the police, ending a manhunt that lasted 30 months.

29 May 1990
(Others)

A family of three elephants was found on in the jungles of Pulau Tekong by national servicemen. They were captured and sent back to Johor.

A year later, another bull elephant made its way to Pulau Ubin across the Johor Strait.

26 March 1991 – Hijack of Singapore Airlines SQ 117
(Terrorism)

Singapore Airlines Airbus flight SQ 117 took off from Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur with 129 passengers and crew on board when four Pakistanis took control of the plane, forcing it to land in Singapore at 10:15pm.

The hijackers wanted the release of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s husband and other Pakistan People’s Party members detained in Pakistani jails.

Before the deadline at 6:45am after which they threatened to kill one passenger every ten minutes if their demands were not acceded to, elite Commandos stormed the plane, killing the four hijackers and freeing all 118 passengers and 9 crew. The rescue of SQ 117 was over in just 30 seconds and ended at 6:50am. None of the passengers and crew were hurt.

05 August 1993
(Accidents)

MRT suffered its first major accident when an east-bound train hit a stationary train at Clementi station in the morning peak hours. Many passengers were flung aside or collide against the metal poles inside the train, resulting in 156 injuries. The accident was investigated to be caused by a large oil spill that affected the braking of the moving train.

28 February 1994
(Crime)

American teenager Michael Fay was sentenced to four months’ jail and four strokes of caning after being found guilty of vandalism, theft and mischief. The caning punishment received highly-publicised criticism from the West.

15 October 1994
(Crime)

Top nightclub mamasan Mona Koh was left paralysed after being ambushed by an unknown hitman at the ground floor lift lobby of Katong People’s Complex. She was hit by two bullets in the face and spine. The hitman was never caught.

8 March 1995
(Crime)

Known as the “Body Parts Murder”, British national John Martin killed a South African Gerard George Lowe at River View Hotel. The body was dismembered and dumped at the Singapore River.

July 1997
(Others)

Asian Currency crisis struck, and Singapore economy was not spared. Singapore dollar dropped 20% while Straits Time Index (STI) plunged 60%.

19 December 1997
(Accidents)

Singapore-bound SilkAir Flight 185 crashed into the Musi River at southern Sumatra, killing all of its 104 passengers and crew members. 46 Singaporeans died, including the pilot Captain Tsu Way Ming.

New Millennium (2000-Present)

13 February 2000
(Crime)

A 27-year-old female jogger was raped and murdered at Bukit Batok Reserve Park. The case remains unsolved.

31 October 2000
(Accidents)

First fatal crash of Singapore Airlines (SIA), SQ006 was destroyed in a failed takeoff at Taipei during a typhoon. A total of 83 passengers were killed.

December 2001
(Terrorism)

Plot to attack foreign embassies and Yishun MRT Station by terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) was foiled by the authority. 37 were arrested and detained under Internal Security Act (ISA).

2 January 2002
(Crime)

A case known as “Orchard Towers Murder”, British expat Michael McCrea murdered his friends Kho Nai Guan and Susie Lan. The bodies were found in an abandoned car at Orchard Towers.

March 2003
(Others)

Singapore society and economy was hit hard by the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Many stringent measures were imposed, but 33 in Singapore died.

18 March 2004 – Three Armed Robbers Took Refuge in Pulau Tekong
(Crime)

The Singapore Police was informed by the Royal Malaysia Police at about 8:45am on 18 March 2004 that they were pursuing three men on board a motorised sampan and the sampan had landed at Pulau Tekong. The men, 2 Indonesians and a Malaysian, were suspected to have earlier committed armed robbery in Johor.

The Singapore Armed Forces and the Singapore Police Force were immediately activated to conduct a joint search for the three persons on the island. Security measures had also been stepped up on the island and all military trainings on the island had been temporarily suspended to facilitate the search operations.

All three were caught within 3 days and were charged with illegal entry and possession of firearms.

20 April 2004
(Accidents)

A tunnel at Nicoll Highway, constructed as part of the SMRT Circle Line, collapsed when the supporting structure gave way, killing four people and injured three. Three days of rescue efforts were carried at the 30m-deep cave-in, which triggered a series of investigations and probes. The construction was halted for almost eight months, and the man-in-charge, project director Ng Seng Yoong, was fined $8,000 for negligence.

10 October 2004
(Crime)

Malaysian Took Leng How admitted to the murder of Chinese girl Huang Na after her body was found dumped at Telok Blangah Hill.

16 June 2005
(Crime)

Leong Siew Chor was found guilty of murdering Chinese national Liu Hong Mei in what was later known as the “Kallang body parts murder”. After killing the victim, Leong chopped up her body into seven parts and dumped the pieces into Kallang River. He was hanged in 2007.

2 December 2006
(Crime)

Tan Chor Lin, nicknamed “One-Eyed Dragon” shot nightclub owner Lim Hock Soon five times in a Serangoon flat. He was sentenced to death.

27 February 2008 – Shocking Escape of Mas Selemat
(Terrorism)

Mas Selamat Kastari, leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror network, is one of Singapore’s most wanted terrorist. He was involved in plans to attack Yishun MRT station and United States naval vessels in Singapore.

In early 2006, he was arrested in Malang and was deported to Singapore, detained under Internal Security Act. However, on 27 February 2008, Mas Selemat escaped from Whitley Road Detention Centre, sparking nationwide manhunt. The Malaysian authorities revealed later that after his escape, he swam across Johor Strait and hid in Kampung Tawakal in Skudai. Malaysia says he hatched plans to bomb targets in Singapore and Malaysia after fleeing.

In 2009, after a year of escape, Malaysian police raided his hideout in Kampung Tawakal and captured him. The news is not made public (shortly after capture, Malaysia informed Singapore but asked that the matter be kept quiet) until May 2009.

Finally in September 2010, Mas Selamat was handed over to Singapore, prompting detailed investigation of his escape.

18 September 2008
(Crime)

A shocking murder case occurred in a Yishun flat in which three were killed and one was left with serious injuries.

45-year-old China national Wang Zhi Jian stabbed her girlfriend Zhang Meng multiple times after a quarrel. When the latter’s daughter Feng Jian Yu woke up from her sleep after hearing the cries, Wang Zhi Jian proceeded to stab her as well. Both women died from their injuries. Wang Zhi Jian then entered a second room to attack another pair of mother-and-daughter, who were staying in the same unit. The mother Yang Jie was forced to escape through the kitchen window but fell to her death, while her daughter Li Mei Lin, the only survivor of the killing frenzy, was injured badly.

Wang Zhi Jian, who arrived at Singapore for only 10 days before he committed the horrific murder, was sentenced to death in 2012 after a four-year trial.

September 2008
(Others)

Due to the subprime crisis in the United States, Singapore became the first Asian nation to enter recession as STI plunged more than 30% in a couple of weeks.

15 December 2009
(Crime)

Romanian diplomat Dr Silviu Ionescu hit three pedestrians at Bukit Panjang, causing the death of Tong Kok Wai. Ionescu was suspected of drunk-driving and hit and run. He escaped from Singapore three days later.

25 June 2010
(Crime)

Swiss Oliver Fricker became the highest-profiled foreigner since 1994 to receive caning after he trespassed SMRT Changi depot and vandalised two train carriages.

15 and 17 December 2011
(Others)

The North-South line of SMRT was hit by major disruptions for several hours due to track faults. More than 200,000 commuters were affected and thousands were stranded in the tunnels.

12 May 2012
(Accidents)

China national Ma Chi, 31, sped in his Ferrari and beat the red-lights at Victoria Street in the wee hours of Saturday morning, resulting in a horrific collision with a taxi and motorcycle. The taxi driver Cheng Teck Hock and his passenger Shigemi Ito died in the crash, along with Ma Chi. Another two were injured.

The shocking accident also sparked off strong anti-foreigner sentiments from Singaporeans, who were increasingly unhappy with the massive influx of foreigners in recent years.

10 July 2013
(Crime)

In the criminal case popularly known as Double Kovan Murder in the media, senior police staff sergeant Iskandar Rahmat, 34, was charged for murdering workshop owner Tan Boon Sin, 66, and his 42-year-old son Tan Chee Heong at their Hillside Drive terrace house.

The case is still pending.

08 December 2013 – Little India Riot
little india riot 2013(Social Unrest)

A riot involving about 400 South Asian foreign workers broke out at 9.30pm after a bus knocked down and killed an Indian national at the junction of Race Course Road and Hampshire Road. An ambulance was set on fire, while several police cars were overturned and burnt. Bottles, stones and rubbish bins were hurled, resulting in at least 18 injuries, including police officers and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel. More than 30 were arrested for rioting with dangerous weapons.

It was Singapore’s first major riot in more than 40 years.

Published: 24 January 2011

Updated: 10 June 2014

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76 Responses to Headlines that shook Singapore (since 1955)

  1. Justin K says:

    You might want to include the following headlines as well:

    1) Murder of Huang Na, 2004

    2) Crash of Singapore Airlines Flight 006, 2000

    3) The Great Orchard Flood, 2010

    4) The Aware Saga, 2009

    5) Operation Spectrum, 1987

    6) Caning of Michael P. Fay, 1994

    7) Discovery of JI Attack Plot, 2001

    8) The claiming of Pedra Branca, 2008

    • Thanks for the contribution Justin
      will add some of the events into the article ;)

      • LKH says:

        Hi, another fantastic article. i’m deeply impressed by your knowledge of Singapore. Having said that, one headline that you might want to consider including in your story is the shooting of the most wanted man, Lim Ban Lim, on 24th November 1972 at Margaret Drive.

    • Tan says:

      Good compilation of accident history.
      However, 15 March 1986 – New World Hotel Disaster. Is it true that SCDF was activated to the scene of disaster during that time? I was informed that it was the Japanese consultants and engineers that was working with the MRT system came to the assistance because they are able to provide the expertise in buildings disaster.
      Only then, SCDF was formed because of Hotel New World accident.

      • Colin Tan says:

        Yes, Mr. Tan you were spot on. This article contains some inaccurate facts. There was no SCDF at that time. The Fire Brigade & police with the help of the MRT staff were doing the rescuing job due to their MRT tunneling expertise. Japan and some other advanced countries offered help. I rushed to the scene when I heard the news from Rediffusion. Anyway, thanks to the writer for a very good compilation.

  2. Jeff says:

    Hi I guess there is also one major event that shock the nation in the late 90s. Silkair MI 185 that crashed in Palembang Indonesia in 19 Dec 1997. The incident killed all 97 passengers and 7 crew on board.

  3. matemat says:

    should check the police annals on Lim Ban Lim, Morgan, Ah Huat: all big time gangsters who fought till they died with police.

    • Vino says:

      They were real fearless gangsters those time,i was a little boy,the gun fight was in Margaret drive..could not forget the shootout till today.

  4. Errol G says:

    Something that is newsworthy but would be unthinkable today, would be an incident sometime around the early 1960s (probably 1963) when Lee Kuan Yew was pushed into a monsoon drain by left-wing factions while campaigning on the pro-merger issue.
    I believe the incident occurred somewhere around the Kim Keat area.

    • Gmale says:

      As I remember it the young PM lky went into this cul-de-sac with his sharp hatchet and knuckleduster to confront the union leader at a strike scene, mafia-style. One push from the latter and the hatchetman ended in the drain, redfaced.
      Of course, the pusher did not get off scot-free; he was given the VIP treatment under Section 55.

    • Yes you are right… It was in 1963


      (Source: Chronicle of Singapore: Fifty Years of Headline News 1959-2009)

  5. Chan HY says:

    It will be wonderful if we could showcase roadside stalls that were so prominent in the 60’s and that was before the Govt housed all hawkers in hawker centers. Those stalls actually will give us a good glimpse of life then. I remember “Do Rai Me” who ran a coffee stall along Tras Street then. Yes, Tras St was called Tras St before some smart alecks renamed Tras St to Murray St. I have some photos of old Tras St before the unit ware insensitively renovated, turing them into faceless concrete and steel structures.

  6. hiran says:

    Do you know the case of a student from BPGHS who was raped and killed in the 1960s(?) ?

    • Care to elaborate more? ;)

      • Elodie Sng says:

        22 November 1991 – Ling Peck Hoon, a Sec 1 student at BPGHS was found murdered near the stretch of shortcut from Woodlands Road, across the railway tracks, across the canal and then on to the then-BPGHS site at Jalan Teck Whye.
        The Straits Times, 8 October 1991, Page 2
        Schools in Teck Whye to stop use of short-cut
        Article also available on microfilm reel NL17498 [Lee Kong Chian Reference Library - On shelf] – can’t be viewed online must go to the library :p

    • Cheng says:

      I guess you meant the 1990s? I think it was either 1991 or 1992. I was a student in the school when the incident happened. It was a morning when a search party found the poor girl’s body. The story went like this…the girl went to school the previous day as usual, walking along secluded path (between old woodlands road and teck whye), but never reach home that evening. Mother called and realized her daughter didn’t reach school the previous day. A search party was called. Soon, the girl’s body was found in a drain along the path. She was only in sec 1 or 2. It was a case that shocked the entire school then, but for some reasons seemed to be totally forgotten. I can’t find any info relating to this case online and didn’t know if this case was ever solved. Memory of this case surfaces whenever I see sec school students do their PE runs out of school compound. The area where it happened was near where we always had our PE runs outside of school.

      • Tan says:

        I remember this case. I’m a student from Teck Whye Sec (BPGH’s then neighbour school). It was Children’s Day and all Pri schools kids are not schooling. She was the last Sec student taking the school bus which she had took it since Pri school. The school bus driver was the murderer.

      • Cheng says:

        Thank you Tan for solving the mystery for me. Otherwise it would remain a heart felt puzzle that never get resolved. At least I can say that justice was done, I guess.

      • chua says:

        I think the murderer was freed due to insufficient evidence a few years later

  7. Braema says:

    thank you for this wonderful work. I also remember around 1973/1974 when the panther escaped from the zoo and it was a huge hunt.

  8. User says:

    What about that NSman who secretly took a rifle and ammo out of his camp and gunned down at least three people? That case happened in the early-mid 80s. He was later hanged but his accomplice got only a jail term.(because he tried to stop him from killing his victims).

    • Joe Foo says:

      there is also one young full time NSF who took a SAR21 and left his guard duty, hide in geylang with a thai prostitute, and got caught several days at cineleisure with the rifle and bullets in his bag. happened before 2010 i think.

  9. Alvin Tan says:

    Just some minor things I noticed:

    In the SQ 117 hijacks, 2 hostages were injured. The hijackers pushed 2 SIA stewards out of the plane onto the tarmac, injuring both of them.

    And for the SQ 6 part, SIA stands for Singapore Airlines not Singapore International Airlines

    • Arjuna Menon says:

      came into contact with two of the tactical team members tasked to end the hijacking.One was COL Lo, a former CO at SISPEC.The other was my CSM,2WO(back then) Lum at 1 SIR.
      Brilliant men, fantastic work ethic and priceless Singaporeans.

      • p j says:

        if this is true, their id’s were kept secret for a c reason – To protect them and their families. Revealing them here would be absolutely wrong!

  10. Hart Rizzo says:

    Nicoll Highway?

  11. bornIn80s says:

    any story on annable chong?

  12. Ma hor ma hor ma hor says:

    u forgot to include mee siam mai hum

  13. Fadilee says:

    How bout the NSF who died during route match in Tekong..it’s a mystery though..

  14. A tragedy happened at the Singapore Buddhist Lodge, a few days before Chinese New Year of 1959.

    Life was tough for the people, during a chaotic period when Singapore moved towards self-government and independence


    (Source: Chronicle of Singapore: Fifty Years of Headline News 1959-2009)

  15. Astaroth says:

    Ten earth-shattering local events not covered here:

    1) NSF who shot his officer in cold blood and then shot himself during range on P. Tekong.

    2) Lee Hsien Loong slapping Dhanabalan over a disagreement.

    3) Singapore’s first olympic silver medalist Tan Howe Liang

    4) MP’s daughter Wee Shu Min’s elitist rant on her blog.

    5) Five Singaporean dragonboaters who drowned during the Cambodia water festival race.

    6) Kallang serial slashings by parang-wielding Sarawak foreign workers.

    7) The great Orchard Road, Bukit Timah and Thomson Road floods.

    8) The Filipino maid who killed and chopped up her compatriot, and then dumped the bagged body parts outside Orchard MRT station.

    9) Downtown East gang fight that left Pheonix Hill gangster Darren Ng Wei Jie dead and landed several 369 gangsters in jail.

    10) Annabel Chong’s world record (to be censored)

    • Gerald Lim V says:

      in addition:
      11) NSF personnal took out his SAR21 from camp.
      12) Clementi Woods Rape cum Murder.
      13) Woodlands water tank murder.
      14) Someone from our home was involved in terrorism or drug related.

      BTW, was appluad (almost ashamed) about Annabel Chong’s feat. lol

      • Arjuna Menon says:

        wonder if anyone heard about the container of firearms that almost got into Singapore had it not been for eagle-eyed security chaps at PSA……?

    • Roy says:

      I wouldn’t describe these as earth-shattering in the history of Singapore. Just highlights within the last decade perhaps. Especially not item 2 which I doubt was printed and item 4 which is hardly earth-shattering. The writer has to take all the eras into context and balance the coverage over the decades.

      Just enjoy the recap of most of these long-forgotten history. I for one am born after ’70s and am glad that I am learning some of our nation’s turbulent past while it was growing up.

  16. Stellbelle says:

    anyone know survivors or people who know survivors of the macdonald house bombing?

  17. cynthia says:

    Can anyone remember a murder that took place in one of the semi-D along Jalan Seaview some twenty years or even more….

  18. khamsani says:

    You forget the Wahab,Mustapha brothers…….

  19. James says:

    I just want to thank you for this. Been looking for a compilation of Singapore headlines for a long time. :)

  20. Tien Song Chuan says:

    Also the Great Penis Panic 1967

  21. Tien Song Chuan says:

    Annabelle Chong sets world record for Gang Bang 1995.

  22. floppy says:

    I would think this two warrants a mention on the headlines that shook Singapore:
    1. Crash of MI185
    2. Trial and hanging of Flor Contemplacion

  23. Willie says:

    The “12 October 1978 – The Spyros Disaster”. My uncle who live with us worked on that ship when the explosion occurred. He was instructed to weld/cut (spoken to us in Cantonese, doing “siew horn” and the next thing he knew an explosion (“bao za”) and they were burnt. He was lucky to survive that. I recall visiting him in SGH “C class ward” with both his arms were bandaged and supported, and the front and the back of his torso was in bandages. I was only a kid (less than 10 years old), but remembered that.

    • JY says:

      Hi Willie, I am researching for a documentary about the Spyros Disaster in 1978 and would very much like to speak with you and your uncle. Kindly contact me at talkativemeister [at] gmail [dot] com, and we will take the discussion from there.

      Thank you very much.

      Regards,
      JY

    • catrinchen says:

      HI willie , I am a researcher from a production house , care to share more about the accident. My email is catrin@ochrepictures.com. Hope to hear a reply from you soon.

  24. Mervyn says:

    I wonder if anyone remember an incident where a girl was killed by a crashing fighter plane while using the toilet many years ago.
    NKF saga not included? Should be considered headlines.

    • Sam@KampongHongKeat says:

      Killed while using the toilet when a fighter plane crashed? The only one I know of happened in 1977 at Tengah Air Base. If that was the one, then a farmer was killed while using the toilet. I was stationed in Tengah then and one of my squadron training planes crashed. The young pilot graduated as a fighter pilot few days earlier and that was to be his last sortie before being assigned to the operational squadron.
      I was told that the poor farmer died together with his flock of chickens.

      • Han@Berseri says:

        Sam
        It was in 1983. I lived in a neighbouring kampong. The Skyhawk collided with RAF Mirage at Tengah. The Skyhawk pilot ejected and landed at Jalan Sabit together with his ejectes seat. The other pilot Aussie ejected and landed on a field where he was driven to Tengah Airbase. I remember this incident well as I could not return home. The MPs blocked all vehicles from entering Jln Berseri.

  25. medscy says:

    It is sad that reports about Op Malindo Darsasa 3AB didnn’t make it to the headlines… we should not be oblivious to the danger that is lurking to threaten thesecurity of our nation

  26. Coco says:

    Thanks for the memory!

    I think the following events merit their place in Singapore’s history:

    Religious Riot over the Dutch girl Maria

    1963-64?: Merdeka Bridge bombing by Indonesians under Soekarno

    1968?: the Mimi Wong murder of a Japanese housewife and children of her Japanese lover

    1970’s: spate of armed robberies of jewellery stores by a most wanted criminal (forgot his nickname) who eventually died in a police crossfire

    1980: merging of Nantah and Singapore U to form an English-stream NTU amidst Nantah’s protest

    1981: JBJ became the first opposition MP

    1987: so-called Marxist Plot — the name Tan Wah Piow missed out (intentionally?)

    1997: a spate of house break-ins by Indonesian masked men

    1998?: SilkAir flight 119 crash over Medan

    200? : discovery of the body parts belonging to a Canadian mother and son who were butchered to death in Phuket and their chopped up bodies found in Collyer Quay

    • TKSS says:

      1970′s: spate of armed robberies of jewellery stores by a most wanted criminal (forgot his nickname) who eventually died in a police crossfire”….the number 1 wanted man in Singapore at that time, Lim Ban Lim. He was eventually ambushed and killed by the police at Margaret Drive.

  27. Nick says:

    The sembawang rape n murder case of mani mala

  28. Nick says:

    Yishun junior college rape case involving kanaga sundaram

  29. Ow Chin Kye says:

    Accident happened at junction of Race Course road and Hampshire road. rioting was at buffalo Road.

  30. rimi says:

    Activist hacker group Anonymous attacked the government website. shld add that in too. awesome page btw

  31. Singapore was a hotbed of abductions in the 1950s and 1960s

    The Straits Times
    Published on Jan 10, 2014

    Kidnappings were rampant in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s, with rich towkays being the main targets.

    Many of the kidnappers were part of secret society gangs, and violent – they confronted the police with guns and grenades.

    To put a stop to these threats, the Government amended kidnapping laws and raised the maximum penalty from 10 years to death or life imprisonment.

    By the 1970s, the number of kidnaps dropped significantly.

    These were the five most famous kidnapping cases of the past:

    1. Kidnapping and murder of biscuit king Lee Gee Chong

    Mr Lee, chairman of the Thye Hong biscuit factory, was abducted in April 1960 near his home in Garlick Avenue off Holland Road. He was the son of Mr Lee Choon Seng, the vice-chairman of the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation. The younger Mr Lee’s body was found wrapped in a blanket in a graveyard off Yio Chu Kang Road five days after he was abducted. He had died of head injuries. It was not reported if any ransom was paid.

    2. Kidnapping of Tangs’ founder Tang Choon Keng

    Better known as C.K. Tang, the founder of the Orchard Road department store was kidnapped in July 1960 outside his bungalow in St Thomas Walk, off River Valley Road. He was abducted at 7.15am in full view of children heading to the nearby Sam Kiang Public School. The 60-year-old was released four days later after a $150,000 ransom was paid. One of this kidnappers, Loh Ngut Fong, was behind several other famous kidnappings.

    3. Kidnapping and murder of shipping tycoon Tay Kie Thay

    The 48-year-old shipping tycoon was kidnapped outside his bungalow in Katong in May 1961. Gunmen threw pepper into his driver’s eyes and forced him out of the car. The kidnappers drove Mr Tay in his car to Broadrick Road where he was transferred to another car. That was the last anyone saw of him. His family paid the $130,000 ransom but he was not released. A few months later, it was discovered that the one of the kidnappers had shot him and buried him in a vacant plot of land in Tampines.

    4. Kidnapping of movie tycoon Shaw Vee Ming

    In February 1964, the eldest son of movie mogul Run Run Shaw was kidnapped at gunpoint in Andrew Road when he was on his way to work. The four-men gang also abducted his driver. Twelve days later, both men were released after the Shaw family paid the $250,000 ransom.

    5. Kidnapping of rubber magnate Ng Quee Lam

    The 44-year-old was dragged from his limousine when he arrived to pick up a friend for dinner at Kee Choe Avenue in Sennett Estate. Several shots were fired during the kidnapping in November 1964. Mr Ng was freed after a fortnight when his family paid the $400,000 ransom.

  32. A primer on the MacDonald House bombing that shook Singapore in 1965

    The Straits Times
    Published on Feb 06, 2014


    The front page of The Straits Times on March 11, 1965.

    The MacDonald House bombing was the worst of a string of attacks by Indonesian saboteurs during Konfrontasi, the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation that happened from 1963 to 1966. The incident has been making the headlines again because Indonesia named a navy ship after the two men responsible for the attack.

    A 25lb (11.33kg) package of nitroglycerine, with a timing device, was planted on the mezzanine floor, near the lifts. At 3.07pm on March 10, 1965, the bomb exploded, tearing a hole in the floor, ripping out a lift door and reducing the correspondence room of the Hongkong And Shanghai Bank “into a shambles” according to a Straits Times report.

    The blast was so powerful that all the windows in buildings within a 100m radius as well as the windscreens of vehicles in a carpark across the street were shattered.

    Three people died, and 35 people were injured. Elizabeth Suzie Choo Kway Hoi, 36 and mother of six who was private secretary to the manager of the bank, and Juliet Goh Hwee Kuang, 23 and an only child, were killed in the blast. Mr Mohammed Yasin Kesit, 45, remained in a coma and died later in hospital, leaving a widow and eight children.

    Two Indonesian marines, Osman Haji Mohammed Ali, 25, and Harun Said, 21, were charged in court on March 16 for the bombing and hung in Changi Jail on Oct 17, 1968. In protest over the hanging, 400 students in Jakarta stormed the Singapore embassy and attacked the consul’s residence as well as the homes of two Singaporean diplomats.



    The MacDonald House bombing was the worst of a string of attacks by Indonesian saboteurs during Konfrontasi, the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation that happened from 1963 to 1966.


    The bomb was placed on the stairway on the mezzanine floor of MacDonald House where it exploded.


    Special Investigation Branch arresting a man at the Kallang Housing Estate in connection with the bomb explosion at MacDonald House.


    Indonesian Embassy officials leaving Wisma House to receive the bodies of the two executed Indonesian saboteurs at the Changi Jail.


    The Indonesian flag being flown at half-mast at the Indonesian Embassy. The embassy was mourning the deaths of two executed Indonesian saboteurs at Changi Jail.


    Bodies of the two executed Indonesian saboteurs leave Changi Jail for the RAF Changi Airfield to be flown back to Indonesia by a Indonesian Air Force plane.


    Two Indonesians were charged in a magistrate’s court with the murder of three MacDonald House workers.

    • Singapore concerned over naming of Indonesian navy ship after executed commandos

      The Straits Times
      Published on Feb 06, 2014

      Singapore has registered its concerns over Indonesia’s naming of a navy ship after two Indonesian marines who took part in the 1965 bombing of MacDonald House on Orchard Road.

      Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman said on Wednesday night that Foreign Minister K Shanmugam spoke to his Indonesian counterpart, Dr Marty Natalegawa, to register these concerns “and the impact this would have on the feelings of Singaporeans, especially the families of the victims”.

      Indonesia’s Kompas daily had reported this week that the last of the Indonesian Navy’s three new British-made frigates would be named the KRI Usman Harun, after marines Osman Haji Mohamed Ali and Harun Said.

      “The two Indonesian marines were found guilty of the bombing which killed three people and injured 33 others,” the MFA spokeman said in response to media queries.

      “Singapore had considered this difficult chapter in the bilateral relationship closed in May 1973 when then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew visited and scattered flowers on the graves of the two marines,” he added.

      The duo were members of Indonesia’s special Operations Corps Command, which is today the Marine Corps, and had been ordered to infiltrate Singapore during Indonesia’s Confrontation with Malaysia.

      Then-president Sukarno had opposed the formation of Malaysia, which Singapore was part of from September 1963 to August 1965, as a puppet state of the British.

      Both marines were convicted and executed in Singapore in 1968 for the March 10, 1965 bombing of MacDonald House, which stands near where Dhoby Ghaut MRT station is today.

      Their hanging saw some 400 agitated students in Jakarta ransack the Singapore embassy, attack the consul’s residence and burn the Singapore flag, and bilateral ties remained tense for several years.

      The marines were welcomed home as heroes, and given a ceremonial funeral at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta.

      Relations between Singapore and Indonesia were restored when Mr Lee Kuan Yew visited Jakarta in 1973, and sprinkled flowers on the marines’ graves.

      Former Singapore ambassador to Indonesia Lee Khoon Choy had earlier recounted that the gesture, which the Javanese believe propitiates the souls of the dead, moved the hosts deeply because it demonstrated that Singapore was sensitive to Javanese culture.

      But in recent years, efforts to commemorate both marines – alongside other declared heroes – have resurfaced, and last year(2013), the Marine Corps proposed to rename Jalan Prapatan in Central Jakarta, where the unit’s headquarters are, as Jalan Usman Harun. The Navy said two other new ships it would take charge of would be named after Indonesian independence heroes Bung Tomo and John Lie. The first, KRI Bung Tomo, will set sail from Britain in June 2014.

      Bung Tomo led the popular resistance against Allied British and Dutch forces in the Battle of Surabaya in November 1945, while John Lie smuggled agricultural produce to buy and smuggle arms from Malaya for the fledgling Indonesian armed forces from 1945 to 1949.

      Kompas cited Indonesia’s Navy chief, Admiral Marsetio, as saying that the three ships would be named after these men “in remembering the services they had rendered to the Indonesian nation”.

  33. Gulaq says:

    Anyone still remember the Tay Cheng Wan case who committed suicide (HDB corruption case) ?

  34. Ah meng says:

    Chinese bus drivers strike at work n kena sent back home?

  35. Michael Chia says:

    May want to add the SilkAir crash that took place in December 1997.

  36. Joe Foo says:

    http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Crime/Story/A1Story20080424-61673.html

    THE full-time national serviceman who was said to have left camp last year with a rifle and ammunition, sparking a massive manhunt, will stand trial in the High Court in July.

    Dave Teo Ming, 20, is charged with unlawful possession of a SAR-21 assault rifle at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard at about 8pm on Sept 3 last year.

    He is also accused of having eight 5.56mm bullets, the type used in SAR-21 rifles.

    Teo also faces a third charge of having a 40cm knife at a staircase of Block 22, Simei Street 1, Melville Park, on April 14 last year.

    At a preliminary inquiry on Thursday, Teo appeared solemn. He is represented by lawyer K. Mathialahan.

    If convicted, he could be jailed up to 20 years and caned.

    Teo was trained as an infantry rifleman with the 1st Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment.

    He is said to have fled Mandai Hill Camp while on guard duty.

    A island-wide manhunt involving some 200 police officers followed and Teo was finally arrested at Orchard Cineleisure 20 hours later.

    Police caught him in a toilet on the mall’s third floor. When he was nabbed, he was dressed in a black suit and tie.

    Teo’s friend, Ong Boon Jun, 22, who was with him before he was caught, was jailed six-and-a-half years and caned six strokes in February.

  37. Lycan Fu says:

    Learned more history in a piece of awesome article than a year in school.

  38. Pingback: Singapore through Headlines (And some Arctic Ice) | generalpaperpress

  39. Bryant says:

    If I didn’t remember wrongly, there was a female lawyer who was killed in a hotel in India when she was held a hostage right?

  40. lio ng says:

    Thanks for all the information gathered here.
    All these history should go into some sort of social history text book for our future generations. Even more so to remind us the need for “Total Defence” effort.

  41. lao pei says:

    h1n1, si tua bui kia zhenhao, malaysia rail close shop, WP take down GRC

  42. lee hwee says:

    2012:Haze hit 400+

  43. Thanks for all the contributions…

    I’ll take some time to verify the news and their dates/time of occurrence, and update the list accordingly

  44. June says:

    There’s one case in either late 1990s or early 2000s.

    A Chinese Singaporean man in his 30s was killed in Woodlands Carpark.

    The cause of the murder was unknown and murderers are still at large till this day. I do not have any other info though

  45. Reblogged this on missanythingunderthesky and commented:
    I felt that this article was pretty interesting. #reblog

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