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River Valley High School in Singapore. Photo: Facebook

Singapore police to charge 16-year-old with murder after alleged attack on 13-year-old in secondary school

  • Police went to River Valley High School after receiving a call for assistance and found the victim in a toilet lying motionless with multiple wounds
  • An axe was seized as a case exhibit. Initial investigations found the two Singaporean male teenagers were not known to each other

Singapore police on Monday said they arrested a 16-year-old Secondary Four student who will be charged with the murder of a 13-year-old schoolmate, with an axe seized as a case exhibit.

The incident at the elite River Valley High School in Singapore’s western Boon Lay suburb sent shockwaves through the city state, which has one of the world’s lowest crime rates.

Singapore teen charged with murder of 13-year-old schoolmate, remanded for psychiatric assessment

The matter was first reported by local media earlier on Monday afternoon, with WhatsApp messages circulating claiming that a slashing incident had taken place at the school attended by 12- to 18-year-olds.

Students were believed to have been told not to leave their classrooms for some time, reports said.

In a statement, the Singapore Police Force said it received a call for assistance at 11.40am.

“Upon arrival, officers found the 13-year-old teenager lying motionless, with multiple wounds at a toilet at the said location,” it said.

“The 13-year-old teenager was pronounced dead at the scene by a Singapore Civil Defence Force paramedic. Preliminary investigations revealed that the two male teenagers are not known to each other.

“Notwithstanding the preliminary findings and the arrest of the teenager, the Police are continuing their investigations into the motive for the assault,” the statement said. “An axe was also seized as [a] case exhibit.”

The 16-year-old boy will appear in court on Tuesday to be charged with murder and police will be “seeking an order from the court to remand the teenager for psychiatric assessment”.

Singapore broadsheet The Straits Times said it spoke to a parent – Mr Huang, a 43-year-old IT worker – at about 3pm. He had rushed to the school after receiving a message from his daughter that said there was someone allegedly wielding an axe in the school.

Mr Huang showed The Straits Times the text message he had received from his daughter at 11.50am and a video of students running on the school grounds.

In a message posted in River Valley High School’s parents’ portal that was seen by TODAY, the school also urged parents not to speculate on the incident or share anything on social media.

“The school will provide further updates when we can,” it said.

Some anxious parents turned up at the school in the afternoon, following the message on the portal, media reports and messages circulating on WhatsApp about the incident.

Students, who were understood to be kept indoors for their safety after the incident, were seen being released at about 3.30pm. The students were ushered by school staff and not allowed to speak to the media.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing expressed shock at the incident and said the ministry was working with the police to investigate the matter, with more details shared in due course. “Our thoughts are with the families of the students concerned,” he said.

Parents told TODAY that they had seen the messages circulating and news reports since early afternoon and went to the school to check on their children.

Mr Alvin See, 48, said his Secondary Four daughter was supposed to be home by 3.30pm, but sent him a text message to say that someone in school had been injured.

Another parent, the father of a Secondary Two student, said he drove to the school after seeing the news online at 2.30pm. He said his daughter was supposed to make her way home on her own.

The Education Ministry and River Valley High later released a statement to say they were “deeply saddened” by the loss of the student and would provide counselling support to students, parents and staff.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: teenager held over school killing