Sunday, 2 August 2015

Singapore Police Force honours pioneer officers at SPF SG50 Pioneers Appreciation Nite

Some 600 attend event in appreciation of their work during Singapore's tumultuous years
By Lim Yi Han, The Straits Times, 1 Aug 2015

From Konfrontasi to racial riots, pioneer police officers here have all played a role to safeguard Singapore's stability and security.

Yesterday, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) held a buffet dinner and movie screening in appreciation of their work.

More than 600 pioneer officers attended the event at the refurbished Capitol Theatre.

Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran said: "In the 19th and early 20th century, secret societies, riots, gambling and other vices were rampant in Singapore. Our rudimentary police force had to not just combat crime, but also fight pirates, run the jail and fight fires.

"Apart from social unrest, dangerous criminals such as gunmen, goldsmith robbers and kidnappers were a scourge in the 60s and 70s."

Mr Iswaran added that maintaining law and order then was "an uphill task" and some officers even died in the course of work.

"Your dedication to this mission is the reason we have a safe and secure Singapore today," he said. "(Even) as we look back on how far we have come over the last 50 years, the SPF must continue to reinvent itself and remain forward-looking."

At the event, the minister also launched an e-book by The Straits Times and the SPF.

Titled Guilty As Charged, it features 25 high-profile cases since 1965, including the stories of ritual child killer Adrian Lim and Anthony Ler, who paid a teenager to kill his wife.

After the launch, pioneers watched the film 1965, which looks at the underlying racial tensions and the turmoil in the months leading up to Singapore's separation from Malaysia.

One officer who worked through the tumultuous period is 85-year-old Ismail Ahmad.

Mr Ismail, a guard police constable between 1948 and 1972, was an officer on the ground after the Maria Hertogh riots in 1950. His job was to control the crowd and disperse them.

He said: "The situation was so chaotic. After the riot, officers had to stay in the police station for two weeks and were not allowed to go home, in case anything broke out.

"We are living in harmony now, and we should appreciate that. I'm very proud to be part of the police and I hope younger officers can follow in our footsteps and work hard."

Mr Ong Swee Kee, who retired from the police force in 1988 after 25 years of service, hoped that such events could be held regularly.

The 71-year-old said: "I hope this can be organised as and when they can for the retired officers. It's difficult to keep in touch because during my time, we used pagers and not handphones."

Mr Ong took on various roles in the police including fingerprint searcher and examiner, as well as station inspector.

He added: "I saw a lot of old friends, I have not seen some of them in 40 years. It's a fantastic feeling to see them still healthy."

In celebration of Singapore’s 50 years of independence, the Singapore Police Force honoured the contributions of our...
Posted by Singapore Police Force on Friday, July 31, 2015

25 gory tales of crime retold in new e-book by the Straits Times and Police Force
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 1 Aug 2015

Two little children found dead in a span of days - the Adrian Lim ritual murders case in 1981 shocked the nation and left parents fearful that their children could be next.

The task of solving the case fell squarely onto the shoulders of Mr S. K. Menon, who was then head of the police CID Special Investigation Section.

"In all my years as a police officer, I never came across anything like this," the 78-year-old retired policeman told The Straits Times recently.

In the end, it was a few drops of blood on the floor of Lim's kitchen and a slip of paper - with both the victims' names - wedged inside his telephone book that did the murderer in, said Mr Menon.

"We knew then that was the man," he said.

The case is one of 25 stories in a new e-book by The Straits Times and the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

It was launched yesterday at the Capitol Theatre as part of the SPF's SG50 Pioneer Appreciation Nite event, which celebrates the contributions of veteran cops.

Titled Guilty As Charged, it contains never-before-seen pictures from ST and police archives.

The tales span decades, from the Sunny Ang murder in 1965 to the Downtown East Gang slashings in 2010.

"Here you have 25 fascinating crime stories which actually played out in Singapore, with insights from the men who solved them. You won't be able to put this e-book down," said The Straits Times Associate Editor (News) Rahul Pathak.

For many former cops such as Mr Menon, the cases detailed in the e-book were a sign of more tumultuous times.

Mr Menon joined the police force in 1956 and spent 38 years in uniform, and he has seen it it all - crimes from armed robbery to rape and murder.

And today's men-in-blue are a far more advanced force than in his day, said Mr Menon.

Recounting a time when officers had to lug around pagers that "weighed a quarter-kilo", he said: "As a policeman last time, you needed to know where the (public) phones were. After you make an arrest, you must run to call for back-up."

Now officers carry advanced gadgets that allow them to communicate with command centres at a moment's notice.

"Last time, we had bicycle patrols, now we have cars, land rovers... Mobility and communications are very fast now," he said.

“IT’S CHICKEN BLOOD”: That was what Adrian Lim told police officers when they saw blood stains on the mosaic tiles of...
Posted by The Straits Times on Saturday, August 1, 2015

The e-book can be downloaded through The Straits Times STAR E-books app.

1. Download "The Straits Times Star" via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

2. Open the app and go to "I'm just browsing".

3. Download "Guilty As Charged".

Gunbattle straight out of a Hollywood movie
In 1972, Margaret Drive was the stage for a gunbattle between police and Lim Ban Lim - Singapore's most wanted gunman at the time. In his criminal career, Lim got away with at least $2.5 million and left one officer dead. He was killed after he opened fire on the police, who were waiting to ambush him. His case is one of 25 featured in the new Straits Times e-book Guilty As Charged
The Sunday Times, 2 Aug 2015

He had gained so much notoriety that after he was shot to death by the police, 33 inmates escaped from a reformative training centre just to attend his funeral.

Lim Ban Lim, who was the most wanted gunman in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1960s, met his end in Queenstown in 1972, after being on the run for years. He was 32 years old, and was already responsible for the death of one policeman.

Lim had been on the wanted list since 1965, after he shot and wounded a detective in Paya Lebar Road in May that year. Following the incident, the police looked for information on Lim, described to be Hokkien, about 1.65m and of medium build. But he remained at large.

A year later, in September 1966, Lim shot another officer, Detective Allan Lee, who had arrested his friend in the lobby of the Odeon Cinema in North Bridge Road. Detective Lee was wounded in the leg.

On June 23, 1968, Lim killed officer Koh Chong Thye, a 27-year-old corporal. It was believed that he had spotted Lim walking out of a shophouse in Rangoon Road at 1.20pm that day. He and two other officers trailed Lim to a vacant plot of land in Owen Road.

There, Lim suddenly confronted them with a Browning automatic pistol and demanded that the corporal hand over his revolver.

Corporal Koh refused and there was a struggle. The officer broke away and ran behind a parked car. But it was then that he got shot in the chest. Despite being wounded, he drew his revolver and fired back at Lim, but missed. Lim fired a second shot - this time at point-blank range and aimed at the forehead, killing Corporal Koh. This was not the end of the drama.

Constable Cheong Yan Soon of the police's Guard and Escort Unit, which deployed armed guards to banks for instance, picked up the dead officer's revolver and began a running gun duel with Lim. He chased Lim through a maze of back lanes and stalls around Owen Road.

At Serangoon Road, Lim fired at the constable before dashing into Kitchener Road. At this point, another detective turned up and also began firing at Lim, who ran into Verdun Road and then into the adjacent Sam Leong Road. Lim was able to jump into a taxi and force the driver to take him to Lavender Street, where he disappeared.

Police conducted a massive manhunt for Lim and his picture was shown on TV. Doctors and Chinese sinsehs were urged to inform the authorities if a wounded man was seeking medical attention.

During the inquiry into Corporal Koh's death in March 1970, State Coroner Liew Ngik Kee, who returned with a verdict of murder, described the case as a typical "Hollywood-style shooting".

Assistant pathologist Chao Tzee Cheng said that the deceased had three bullet wounds. One struck him in the chest and went through his heart, lungs and stomach. Another hit him in the forehead and brain, and the third, his face.

Soon after the incident, police offered a $5,000 reward for the arrest of Lim. Less than a year later, in March 1969, police doubled the reward to $10,000.

On Nov 24, 1972, police engaged him in a final gunbattle at a pasar malam in Margaret Drive.

Officers from the Rural West Division had a tip-off that Lim, who had returned to Singapore after spending some months in Taiwan and Macau, and his "trusted armed double", Chua Ah Kow, would be visiting the night market.

By then, there was a price of $17,000 on Lim's head. He and Chua were wanted on both sides of the Causeway for a series of armed robberies and murders.

At 7.30pm, six police officers laid an ambush and took up positions in the vicinity of Block 6, near Golden City Theatre. After 45 minutes, they saw Lim and Chua walk to a row of shops across the road. The duo came out of a shop 10 minutes later. Suddenly, they fled in opposite directions, firing at the police.

Officers returned fire, but had to be extra careful as the road was crowded. Eventually, they shot Lim three times in his body. He staggered for about 10m, collapsed and died, still clutching the revolver.

Chua fired two more shots at the police before managing to escape. During a gunbattle at Tank Road three weeks later, he shot himself dead to avoid being arrested.

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