In response to the case of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim, individuals have started to speak up about their past experience and voice out against the systematic issue that the Singapore Police Force might have with its policing protocols, .
Below are some accounts of individuals sharing their personal experience or as a family member on encounters with the police. The names are not revealed for their privacy but their accounts are viewable publicly as the comments were posted on Facebook comment threads and forums. More will be published later.
Personal account #1
I’m not defending the boy, but I was once in this same situation where I was brought into Jurong Police Station for investigation for case report against me.
During the interrogation, 2 to 3 different officers question me with a stern voice, threatening tone and raising their voice occasionally. They had already assume that I had committed the crime and just forcing me to admit. I still remember they keep repeating this sentence saying: Come on lah, stop lying, I can tell that you are lying!!!
They could not get anything out from me and I was able to name a couple of witnesses. I was put into a holding area behind BAR not allowing to talk to anyone.
And only after few hours I was bailed out by my sister. The witness had given their statement matching what I had said, but they still do not release me. That the way they work.
Personal account #2
I experience with Investigation Officer (IO) from J division; they came to my house to take my son for statement when they know the parents (were) not at home. They ask my son to open the gate and one of the plain officer come inside my house like burglar go inside my son room and confiscate my son hp without any warrant, entering ppl house they are are suck when doing their work.
Personal account #3
I experienced the same treatment as Benjamin when I was 13 years old by the police in Singapore. As my group of friends were caught in a fight with another group at a shopping mall, I was arrested together with them even when I did not get involved in the brawl.
Same experience as Benjamin…no adult presence when I was interrogated by three policemen in a room, was handcuffed in public and in the interrogation room, was escorted into a police car in full public view. The policemen didn’t even bother listening to my pleas of not being involved.
I was locked up in a prison cell at a police station for half a day and released only after midnight, even though my parents were already there many hours ago. They pressured me to sign a confession form without my parents’ presence and threatened me that if I don’t sign the form, I will be locked up for much longer. Only after all papers have been signed, then they released me to see my parents. Of course, my parents were displeased when I told them the truth and they pursued this case all the way to the ministry. Only then my file was dropped from records.
I understand how poor little Benjamin must have felt…i felt like my future has been ruined and suicide did cross my mind back then. Luckily the case was dropped by the police after my parents’ perseverance to see justice done. Otherwise, I would probably be a wreck of a child then.
Family member’s account
My brother has been interrogated by police before for petty crime when he was very young. He said that the way the police interrogated as if he had committed a murder. I do not know whether the police did this was to scare the minor so that they will not repeat their mistake. Probably it is more advisable if a minor is being interrogated, a social worker or councillor sits in. He/She is there not to interfere with the investigation but to ensure the police not to use ‘intimidating’ or ‘threatening’ way of questioning.