Thursday, July 28, 2005

The day a bomb exploded on Orchard Road

Part lV of the retrospective on Singapore's road to independence

'Konfrontasi', the guerilla warfare that was waged by Indonesian President Soekarno against the Federation of Malaysia, hit Singapore with devastating impact on March 10, 1965. Prior to this attack, Indonesian saboteurs and infiltrators have been arrested in Johore and on Singapore shores, but this bomb blast in the MacDonald House has been etched into Singapore's post-colonial history as the probably the most brazen act of terrorism ever recorded.


A BOMB explosion killed two office girls in the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank building known as MacDonald House in Orcahrd Road here this afternoon. At least 33 other people were injured.

The extent of the damage on the mezzanine floor of the 10-storey building made it a simple matter to determine where the bomb was placed - near the lift.

An inner wall at this level was blasted inwards and collapsed in a mass of rubble into the bank on the ground floor.

Windows shattered

Killed immediately were Mrs Suzie Choo, 36, private secretary to the Bank Manager, and Miss Juliet Goh, 23, a filing clerk in the bank.

Many others - in the bank and on the road - fell like ninepins, many seriously injured.

Every window within a hundred yards was shattered, and almost every car immediately outside the building and across the car was damaged.

An Australian Trade Commission station wagon, parked near the entrace was flung on the road divider. (The offices of the Australian High Commission are immediately above the mezzanine floor.)

Two buried

The bomb exploded at 3.17 pm - just eight minutes before the Wearne Brothers' motor mechanics were due to gather by the side of the building for their tea break.

It is not known if the bomb had a timing device.

The explosion ripped off a lift door - but it was one of the inner walls on the mezzanin floor that took the full force of the blast.

On the other side of this wall was the correspondence office of the bank in which Mrs Choo and Miss Goh were working. Both were buried by rubble.


Two Indonesians were charged in a magistrate's court here today with the murder of three MacDonald House workers last Wednesday.

Osman bin Haji Mohammed Ali, 22, and Harun bin Said alias Tahir, 26, were charged with having "knowingly caused" the deaths of Elizabeth Suzie Choo Kway Hoi, Juliet Goh Hwee Kuang - both of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank - and Yasin bin Kesit, a driver of the Malaya Borneo Building Society.

All three were killed when a bomb exploded on the landing of the mezzanine floor of MacDonald House at 3.07 pm on Wednesday.

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