'I felt scared but I could not fight back': Security officer assaulted by man he told to wear a mask

Wong Shiying
The Straits Times
July 6, 2022

At 90kg and around 170cm tall, Mr Sures Perumal was physically bigger than the man who allegedly assaulted him on Monday night.

But the 46-year-old Malaysian security officer did not retaliate. He has been trained not to do so, but to instead report abuses to his supervisor and the authorities instead.

"I felt scared of course, but I could not talk or fight back because I'm a security guard and I need to perform my duty," he said about the incident in a video interview on Wednesday (July 6).

"But he was smaller in size than me, so I could block some of his punches."

He added that it was the first time he had been attacked at work in a decade as a security officer in Singapore.

Footage provided by the Security Association Singapore showed Mr Perumal being punched and shoved by a man outside the Giant hypermarket at Tampines Retail Park at about 10.20pm that night, after he advised the man to put on a mask before entering the premises.

Mr Perumal was on traffic control duty that night where he had to ensure vehicles stop for pedestrians to cross the zebra crossing safely.

Mr Perumal was seen in the video approaching a man who was not wearing a mask at the entrance of the building.

The man then gestured towards the building and walked away from Mr Perumal.

About a minute later, the same man started shoving and punching the security guard, who did not fight back.

It was only after staff from Giant and members of the public intervened that the man stopped his assault.

Mr Perumal said the man had confronted him for being rude after he had told him to wear a mask.

"He said to me in Malay: 'You think you very big? Gangster is it?' I couldn't pay attention to what he was saying as I was controlling traffic. Then he became violent and started punching me," Mr Perumal added.

Members of the public kept the assailant from him, and the police and ambulance arrived soon after. Mr Perumal said his injuries were assessed and he did not have to go to the hospital.

After taking a break, he continued working until his shift ended at around midnight.

A police spokesman said on Tuesday that a 57-year-old man has been arrested under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act. He will also be investigated for voluntarily causing hurt to a security officer.

Mr Perumal, who is married with three daughters aged 10, 13 and 15, said his family members in Malaysia are aware of what had happened to him. "My wife is worried and she told me to be more careful."

He said he is lucky to have come out of the incident relatively unscathed. During the interview, he pointed to bruises on his face and said they were painful.

He is grateful to the people who came forward to aid him in stopping the man. Some of them also helped the police identify the assailant.

Mr Perumal said that this experience, though scary, will not deter him from staying on as a security officer.

"(The risk) is part of the job, it is okay. Even if it happens again, I will do the same thing - stay calm and try to protect myself," he said.

His employer of more than six years, security agency TwinRock, and the Security Association Singapore said they will continue to provide assistance to him.

Penalties for those who harass, assault or hurt security officers were enhanced in May. Those who voluntarily cause hurt to a security officer may be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $10,000.

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.