SINGAPORE: Retired police officer Anthony Low, 78, is aware of he’s lucky to be alive.
On Jun 6, 1974, the then-sergeant within the Prison Investigation Division (CID) got here face-to-face with dying, or extra particularly, along with his personal revolver pointed at his head.
Holding the revolver was secret society member Chua Hung Pheng, also called “Gia Kiang” or “the centipede”. Gia Kiang claimed to have murdered earlier than and was as soon as arrested by Mr Low himself.
Simply moments earlier, Mr Low was on the hunt for Gia Kiang at a vacant Housing Board block on Alexandra Highway. Then Gia Kiang pounced on him, repeatedly hit his head and snatched his revolver, leaving the police officer with nothing to defend himself with.
“After all (I used to be afraid for my life); I used to be considering many issues,” Mr Low instructed reporters on Friday (Jul 30) as a part of tales to commemorate 200 years of policing in Singapore. “This was essentially the most harmful incident I ever confronted.”
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The day began on a extra mellow be aware, with a routine name to a case of extortion at a finance firm within the Alexandra space. Mr Low didn’t know then that it concerned Gia Kiang.
Earlier within the morning, a person had walked into the corporate’s workplace and demanded S$10,000 from the supervisor, revealing that he had a loaded revolver.
The supervisor mentioned she didn’t have that form of cash along with her, and needed to go to the financial institution to withdraw the money. The person agreed to gather the cash later and left. The supervisor then went to the financial institution and referred to as the police.
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When Mr Low and two different plainclothes officers arrived on the finance firm, they have been knowledgeable that the supervisor had left for the financial institution. On the financial institution, the supervisor instructed the cops to attend for the suspect again on the workplace.
Mr Low instructed his colleagues to take up ambush positions across the workplace, whereas he sat in entrance of a typewriter and pretended to be a clerk.
Certain sufficient previous midday, a person carrying a singlet, shorts and slippers entered the workplace. After recognizing Mr Low, he shortly rotated and left.
“I immediately recognised him as Gia Kiang whom I had arrested a number of years in the past and was imprisoned for six years,” Mr Low mentioned. “I stood up and gave chase.”
Mr Low seen that Gia Kiang had run within the course of a close-by vacant HDB block earlier than he disappeared. He figured that Gia Kiang would attempt to disguise within the higher flooring of the block.
Mr Low determined to go looking each ground. He couldn’t inform his colleagues about his plan as he didn’t know the place they have been, and there have been no walkie-talkies then.
As Mr Low scanned the corridors and peered into the empty items, he felt assured. “Since Gia Kiang already knew who I used to be, he could be afraid, and sure discard his weapon and give up,” he thought to himself.
However this evaluation was fairly removed from what occurred subsequent.
BRUSH WITH DEATH
When Mr Low was on the thirteenth ground, Gia Kiang, now barefooted and stealthy, charged at him from the again. Gia Kiang used his personal revolver and struck Mr Low within the head a number of occasions. He wrapped his arms across the officer’s neck and questioned him.
“He then angrily requested me why I got here again to search for him,” Mr Low recalled. “He additionally requested if I used to be not afraid to die.”
Mr Low tried to calm Gia Kiang down by speaking to him, however this solely made him extra brazen. Gia Kiang snatched Mr Low’s revolver from his waist holster and pointed it on the officer’s head.
“At this time is my day or yours. Both you or me,” Mr Low remembers Gia Kiang telling him, ordering him to make sure protected passage to the bottom ground.
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It dawned upon Mr Low that he was in “grave hazard”, as he began to consider escaping. The officer steered that they use the raise, considering that he would bolt as soon as the doorways opened. Gia Kiang, maybe fearful a few counter-attack, demanded they use the steps as a substitute.
Because the pair made their method down, Mr Low determined that he must ditch his escape plan and attempt to regain management.
“I knew that he would by no means give me an opportunity (to flee),” Mr Low insisted. “He meant enterprise.”
WILL TO SURVIVE
Each time they turned a nook all the way down to the subsequent flight of stairs, Mr Low considered snatching again his revolver. He tried a number of occasions, however Gia Kiang swatted him away.
Mr Low admitted he was afraid that Gia Kiang would shoot him if he saved making an attempt, however knew he didn’t have a lot of a selection if he needed to reside.
“With every failure to retrieve my revolver, I used to be resolute to outlive,” he mentioned. “I saved telling myself that I have to not surrender. I wanted to grab the subsequent attainable alternative.”
When the pair was two flooring from the bottom, Mr Low instantly rotated once more. He grabbed his revolver tightly and yanked so exhausting that he thought he might have damaged a few of Gia Kiang’s fingers.
Within the melee, the pair tumbled down the steps practically to the bottom ground. Mr Low had his gun again. “I felt deep down that this was my last alternative to maintain myself alive,” he added.
Gia Kiang didn’t seem dazed from the sudden ambush, as he jumped backwards and pulled out his personal revolver. For Mr Low, years of coaching and intuition kicked in.
Mr Low fired three photographs, certainly one of which hit Gia Kiang sq. within the chest, killing him. The officer moved in for an arrest, however the gang member was useless.
Gia Kiang’s revolver was later confirmed to be have been utilized in a number of homicide instances. Mr Low, for his heroism in taking down an armed gunman, was awarded the Police Gallantry Medal in 1975.
LUCKY TO BE ALIVE
When requested for his ideas on public feedback that cops in Singapore not often, if ever, used their firearms now, Mr Low mentioned this goes on a “case-by-case” foundation.
“Is your life in peril at the moment? In case your life is in peril, I’ll undoubtedly open hearth,” he mentioned. “But when I nonetheless obtained individuals overlaying me, or if I’m alone and I’ve an opportunity to keep away from it, you keep away from it.”
Mr Low mentioned he was relieved to have made it via the “extraordinarily harmful ordeal” virtually half a century in the past.
“As a younger CID officer, I knew that I had an obligation to carry out, that’s to be brave, to do my utmost finest to struggle enemies in order to maintain or nation protected and safe,” he mentioned.
When requested how he handled any trauma within the days that adopted, Mr Low, voice cracking, replied that he felt “very fortunate”. He highlighted that his maternal grandmother had prayed for his security day by day.
“At this time, I thank God for preserving my life,” he added.