POLICE have increased their presence at Downtown East and the surrounding neighbourhood, following the fatal hacking of a 19-year-old polytechnic student there 10 days ago.

Police spokesman Lau Kian Keong said in response to queries yesterday that the police 'have been conducting regular patrols in the area and have stepped up patrols following the incident'.

The area's Members of Parliament are also concerned. Dr Ahmad Magad, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, said he and fellow MP Teo Chee Hean, who is Deputy Prime Minister, have asked the police to intensify patrols and to be particularly on the lookout for people behaving in a suspicious manner. They have also raised the issue of beefing up security with Downtown East's management.

When contacted, the management said it was working closely with the authorities on security measures. It has also stepped up its security presence to deal with the bigger crowds that are expected during the year-end school holidays and festivities.

On Oct 30, student Darren Ng, 19, and three friends were chased by chopper-wielding men in front of passers-by. Darren was hacked to death, while his friends escaped with minor injuries. Four men have been charged with his murder.

Dr Magad pointed out that the incident was an isolated one, and that the neighbourhood was peaceful. He said: 'The murder is clearly shocking to everyone and has shaken the local community a bit.'

Downtown East security up