20 headlines that rocked Singapore in the last 20 years

Nothing major really ever happens in peaceful Singapore and that’s a good thing. Which is why when these 20 incidents happened, they hogged all the headlines, gripped the nation and were on all of our lips for days.

1. The caning of Michael Fay (1994)

This American teenager created quite a media storm when he was sentenced to six strokes for vandalizing 18 cars.

2. The body-parts murder (1995)
Briton John Martin Scripps became the first Westerner to be hung in Singapore after being found guilty of murdering and dismembering South African tourist Gerard George Lowe.

, 20 headlines that rocked Singapore in the last 20 years
SilkAir MI 185 wreckage, Credit: National Transportation Safety Committee

3. The SilkAir crash (1997)
Flight MI 185, which crashed into the Musi River on Dec 19, killing all 104 passengers, remains Singapore’s worst aviation disaster.  

4. SIA’s first fatal crash (2000)

SQ006 was Singapore Airlines’ first major crash when the plane encountered a typhoon in Taipei. 83 passengers were killed.

5. The Anthony Ler case (2001)

He dangled $100,000 in front of four youths to kill his then-wife Annie Leong. A 15-year-old boy took the bait but was spared the death sentence. Leong hung instead.

, 20 headlines that rocked Singapore in the last 20 years
Yishun MRT, credit: Seloloving

6. JI plot to attack Yishun MRT (2001)

The authorities successfully foiled an attack on Yishun MRT by terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

7. Orchard Tower murders (2002) 

British financial adviser Michael McCrea murdered his chauffeur Kho Nai Guan and his girlfriend Lan Ya Ming.

8. The SARS outbreak (2003)

When the highly infectious virus hit Singapore in late Feb 2003, schools were shut and home quarantine orders were given out.

9. The Huang Na murder (2004)

After a three-week nationwide search, the eight-year-old was eventually found in a box in Telok Blangah Hill Park.

10. Armed robbers in Pulau Tekong (2004)

Three armed robbers fled Malaysia and headed for Pulau Tekong. The three-day manhount involved Air Force helicopters, commandos and the Gurkha.

, 20 headlines that rocked Singapore in the last 20 years
Nicoll Highway, credit: Sengkang

11. The collapse of Nicoll Highway (2004)

On April 20, a section of the Nicoll Highway caved-in when a temporary wall meant for the construction of the Circle Line gave way.  It caused a 30m deep gorge and left four dead.   

12. Kallang body-parts murder (2005)

Chinese national Liu Hong Mei was butchered and killed by her lover Leong Siew Chor. Her body parts were found in the Kallang and Singapore Rivers.

13. Mas Selamat’s escape (2008)

The high-profile prison break of Singapore’s most wanted terrorist happened on Feb 27 at the Whitley Road Detention Centre. He was re-eventually captured in a small village in Johor on Apr 1, 2009.

14. The “Slayers” suicide pact (2008)

16-year-old Thai-Chinese teenager Ku Witaya convinced six of his friends to enter a suicide pact. On Aug 23, Ku and Sia Chan Hong threw themselves off a HDB block. The other five backed out.

15. The Yishun murders (2008)

Wang Zhijian brutally stabbed his girlfriend Zhang Meng and her daughter 98 times in a flat in Yishun on Sept 18. He had only been in Singapore for 10 days.

16. That Ferrari crash (2012)

Ma Chi was speeding in his Ferrari when he collided with a taxi and a motorcycle. The taxi driver, his passenger and Ma, all died in the crash.

, 20 headlines that rocked Singapore in the last 20 years
Little India Riots, credit: Paul 1953

17. The Little India Riots (2013)

The two-hour, 300-person riot on Dec 8 became Singapore’s worst case of public violence in decades. Little India has had all kinds of liquor bans ever since.

18. The Kovan double murders (2013)

Eyewitnesses saw a body being dragged by a car in broad daylight on Jul 10. A father and his son were both found dead and the killer turned out to be a senior staff sergeant with the police force.

19. CTE fatal crash (2013)

23-year-old Amron Ayoub, his Korean girlfriend, Jamie Song, and her parents were killed in a car crash along the CTE after a MPV drove straight into their broken down car that was on the road shoulder.

20. Syed Alwi Road suitcase murder (2013)

A karang guni man got two tourists to help him with a suitcase because it was too heavy, and they all ended up with bloody hands. A man’s upper torso was found inside it and two Pakistani men were later charged with murder.