Due to the public outrage over the case of the Benjamin Lim, the fourteen-year-old who was found dead on 26 January at the foot of his flat after apparently jumping down from the 14th floor, both the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the secondary school that Benjamin studied in, have clarified that the whole process of the police visiting the school for Benjamin was discreet due to the plainclothes officers and the use of unmarked vehicles.
It is noted that Benjamin had been interviewed by the police unaccompanied for his alleged involvement in a case of molestation
The police in its statement on Monday (1 February) wrote, "In this case, a Police report was lodged about a molestation. Based on CCTV evidence, Police officers went to conduct enquiries at a school. To keep investigations discreet, the officers went in plainclothes and in unmarked cars."
The school principal was quoted by The New Paper on 30 January to have said, "When the plainclothes police officers came to the school, we were discreet in bringing the student to the office to meet with the police."
So based on the statements made by the police and the school, the five police officers who turned up at the secondary school were wearing plainclothes and therefore not recognisable as police officers.
At least, that is what they say.
TOC has spoken to a parent of a student studying in the same secondary school with Benjamin, and the accounts of her son gave a contrasting picture.
According to her son, he had went near the principal office on that Tuesday (26 January) and knew that there was something big happening.
The son had told her that he was aware of the incident before the news came out that night because he had gone to the principal's office during recess and saw the police gathering there.
She asked how he knew the people were police when they wore plainclothes. The son laughed and replied, "They wearing the T-shirts with the word, 'POLICE' at the back what!"
The mother asked if the term 'plainclothes'would be technically classified for such attires. The mother also said that she is aware that the school is affiliated with a community-based police subdivision, however, she is not certain if some of them were present at the time.
She added that in her son's opinion, it was very apparent that someone was in big trouble that day.
TOC has written to the police for comments and will update when they respond.
*Note that the comment made by the mother is also posted on the Singapore Police Force's Facebook page and can be identified for authenticity if members of public are interested.
**Update - The Minister of Law has said in Parliament that police officers did not turn up to the school with t-shirts with the words police on them. It has since been brought to our attention that the police has said that she was mistaken about the dates of the incident and have since removed the post.