Monday, 13 April 2015

Singapore's longest serving police chief Goh Yong Hong dies at age 76

Ex-police commissioner dies
By Toh Yong Chuan, The Straits Times, 12 Apr 2015

Singapore's longest-serving police chief Goh Yong Hong, who introduced community policing, died on Friday aged 76.

He was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital two weeks before for an illness.

In a condolence message yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean credited Mr Goh, who was police commissioner from 1979 to 1992, with changing the way Singapore is policed.

"I also knew him when he was a vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council. He had a deep passion for sports," he said.

As commissioner, Mr Goh was behind three key initiatives - introducing the neighbourhood watch scheme and forming the National Crime Prevention Council, both in 1981; and setting up neighbourhood police posts in 1983.

These moves meant a shift from investigation-based policing to an approach emphasising prevention and community cooperation, the Singapore Police Force said.

Mr Goh joined as a cadet assistant superintendent of police in 1961, after being in the first batch to graduate from the then University of Singapore law faculty. His class of 22 included former chief justice Chan Sek Keong and Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh.

Mr Goh spent the early part of his career at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), heading murder investigations and suppressing illegal gambling. In 1966, a group of gambling promoters tried to bribe him but he turned the tables on them and took them to court.

Retired officer Cedric Pereira, 74, who worked with Mr Goh during his CID days, said: "He had no airs and was personally involved in all the investigations."

Retired deputy assistant commissioner Eugene Wong, 83, said that while Mr Goh was a soft-spoken man, he was "firm and decisive".

Mr Goh had a soft spot for at-risk youth, setting up the Police Boys' Clubs in 1982 to keep them out of street gangs. In 1985, he organised a free rock concert at the Police Academy which drew 50,000. Its success showed there could be "fun and games without disorderliness and trouble", he said.

He received the Public Administration (Gold) Medal in 1984. He was vice-president of the Singapore National Olympic Council from 1990 to 2002. After he retired in 1992, he held directorships at several companies.

Mr Goh leaves his wife Teresa, 77, daughters France, 50, and Dawn, 48, son Gerard, 42, and eight grandchildren.

His daughter Dawn said that he spent his retirement years with the family and doted on his grandchildren. But he suffered from poor health for the past year, she added.

The wake will be held at Mount Vernon Sanctuary before a private funeral on Tuesday.

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