Singapore

Shangri-La shooting: Trio had agreed to evade police checks

Police officers standing by at a checkpoint near the Shangri-La Hotel on the day of the incident. Photo: AP
The car involved in the shooting incident near Shangri-La Hotel being tow away by the police on May 31, 2015. Photo. Ernest Chua
The shooting incident happened near Shangri-La Hotel on May 31, 2015. Photo. Ernest Chua
Police personnel and Gurkhas were deployed at the junction of Orange Grove Drive and Anderson Road where the vehicle that the police opened fire at, stopped on May 31, 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Police personnel and Gurkhas were deployed at the junction of Orange Grove Drive and Anderson Road where the vehicle that the police opened fire at, stopped on 31 May 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Police personnel and Gurkhas were deployed at the junction of Orange Grove Drive and Anderson Road where the vehicle that the police opened fire at, stopped. A man was shot dead and two others were detained following the shooting incident at 4:36am near the Shangri-La Hotel, where a high-security summit was ongoing on 31 May 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Police personnel and Gurkhas were deployed at the junction of Orange Grove Drive and Anderson Road where the vehicle that the police opened fire at, stopped. A man was shot dead and two others were detained following the shooting incident at 4:36am near the Shangri-La Hotel, where a high-security summit was ongoing on 31 May 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Police personnel and Gurkhas were deployed at the junction of Orange Grove Drive and Anderson Road where the vehicle that the police opened fire at, stopped. A man was shot dead and two others were detained following the shooting incident at 4:36am near the Shangri-La Hotel, where a high-security summit was ongoing on 31 May 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Police personnel and Gurkhas were deployed at the junction of Orange Grove Drive and Anderson Road where the vehicle that the police opened fire at, stopped. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Police personnel and Gurkhas were deployed at the junction of Orange Grove Drive and Anderson Road where the vehicle that the police opened fire at, stopped. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
A man was shot dead and two others were detained following the shooting incident at 4.36am near the Shangri-La Hotel, where a high-security summit was ongoing on May 31, 2015. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Gurkhas guarding the grounds surrounding the venue of the Shangri-La Dialogue yesterday. Photo: AP
Blow-by-blow account of incident in coroner's inquiry
Published: 1:57 PM, January 26, 2016
Updated: 5:14 AM, January 27, 2016
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SINGAPORE — A missed turn was how they wound up at the security checkpoint, but the decision to escape police checks was something the trio had agreed on, earlier in the night when they went looking for trysts.

A blow-by-blow account leading to two Gurkha officers firing five rounds at Mohamed Taufik Zahar, 34, in the early hours of May 31 last year near Shangri-La Hotel was revealed in court today (Jan 26) during a Coroner’s Inquiry. He was killed on the spot by the fifth shot, which hit him in the back of his head, near his right ear.

The intensive police checks were implemented for a high-level security summit going on at the hotel, which involved defence ministers, defence officials and military chiefs from 27 countries — presenting “significant potential as a prime target for terrorist attacks”. In particular, officers were on heightened alert for attacks via vehicles carrying improvised explosive devices — a modus operandus in terrorist bombings over the years.

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Flashing graphics of the location and CCTV footage from nearby buildings during today’s hearing, Second Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck showed how Taufik had crashed through concrete barriers and ignored repeated instructions and warnings to stop that day.

Hours before, Taufik, who did not hold a valid driving licence, drove out in a rented red Subaru saloon his wife had rented. He picked up Mohamed Ismail, 31, and Muhammad Syahid Mohamed Yasin, 26, to look for prostitutes in Geylang. Taufik suggested they flee if they were to come across a road block and his friends agreed — both had taken drugs earlier, while Mohamed was also wanted for various offences.

Out of luck in Geylang, the trio decided to head to Orchard Towers to “look for girls”, but missed a turn on the way and came face to face with the security checkpoint along Ardmore Park at about 4.17am. After a brief exchange where officers asked for the car windows to be wound down, Syahid shouted “Jalan! Jalan!” (“Go! Go!” in English) and Taufik accelerated through the area.

As the car hurtled towards a final line of barriers, various officers shouted to alert each other and an air horn was also sounded. The revving car prompted two Gurkha officers stationed at the intersection of Anderson Road — deployed to “use all lawful means” to prevent breaches — to raise their weapons and shout repeatedly at Taufik to stop, to no avail. One officer fired a shot in Taufik’s direction while another fired two shots in quick succession.

As the car did not stop, the second officer fired two more shots before the vehicle crawled to a halt.

Taufik was found bloodied and slumped in the driver’s seat, while Mohamed and Syahid, who had fled on foot, were subsequently arrested. Drugs were found on Mohamed and on the rear passenger floorboard of the car. The hearing continues tomorrow.

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