World

A teenager in Singapore has been charged with murder after a 13-year-old boy’s body was discovered in a school bathroom, along with an axe.

The 16-year-old appeared in court via video link on Tuesday, and he is now being held at a medical centre for psychiatric observation.

Monday’s attack caused shock in the city-state, which has a low crime rate. It counts itself as among the safest places in the world, and violence in schools is rare.

Police said the victim was found lying motionless at a toilet in River Valley High School and had suffered multiple wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives believe that the boys did not know each other, and are trying to establish a motive for the alleged attack.

Although murder charges can carry the death penalty in Singapore, the maximum punishment for under 18s is life imprisonment.

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Singapore’s law and home affairs minister K. Shanmugam wrote on Facebook that it was “one of the worst things that can happen to parents”.

Amid questions as to how the suspect acquired an axe, which was seized by police at the scene, he added: “Preliminary investigations suggest he purchased it online.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was shocked by the tragic incident, adding that police will now examine whether something could have been done to avert it.

“My heart goes out to his family. I know we cannot properly express our sympathy, or offer much comfort in their sudden calamity. But still, I would like them to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them,” he wrote.

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