Questions from NGO about Cooling-Off Day invesigations remain unanswered by SPF

Last Friday, Community Action Network (CAN) sent an email to the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to enquire about the investigation launched upon two individuals, Teo Soh Lung and Roy Ngerng.

The SPF’s investigations were over police complaints filed by the Election Department (ELD) for alleged violation of the Parliamentary Election Act during the .

The Non-Government Organisation stated that it has yet to receive a reply from SPF and that it believes that questions raised in its letter are a matter of public interest.

It wrote in a statement about the incident, “The SPF’s recent handling of complaints into alleged breaches of Cooling-Off Day rules has triggered widespread discussion and speculation about police procedure and priorities. Above all, many people are puzzled as to why the SPF chose to issue a joint statement with a complainant when an investigation was – and is still – ongoing.”

The full email can be seen below,

Dear Sir,

We refer to the joint statement issued by the Elections Department (ELD) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) on June 1, 2016.

We would be grateful if the SPF could answer the following questions:
1. Is it normal for the police to issue joint statements with complainants who have submitted police reports?

2. If yes, could you list other instances in which similar joint statements have been released? What factors does the SPF take into consideration when deciding whether or not to release joint statements with complainants?

3. If no, why did the SPF decide to release a joint statement with the ELD in this instance?

4. Does the joint statement indicate that the SPF agrees with allegations raised by the complainant?

5. If yes, was the conclusion reached before or after the seizure of electronic devices belonging to Mr Roy Ngerng and Ms Teo Soh Lung?

6. If no, is the SPF in any way concerned about how it is being perceived by the public following the issuance of the joint statement?

7. Is the SPF concerned about questions surrounding its impartiality following the release of the joint statement?

We would also be most grateful if the SPF could answer questions on a related point:
1. It appears that at least two members of the SPF entered Ms Teo Soh Lung’s apartment without their identification cards. Is this standard procedure?

2. Are police in Singapore not trained to carry relevant identification with them while on duty?

3. Have the officers in question been asked to explain their lapse? If so, will the explanations be made public?

4. Given that both Mr Ngerng and Ms Teo did not deny that they were authors of the allegedly offending posts, why was it even necessary to seize computers, mobiles phones and other electronics devices?

5. Why was similar action not taken against other people who were also reported for allegedly breaching Cooling Off Day rules?

Finally, we note the speed with which the SPF has reacted to the ELD’s complaint, and have three questions on this issue:

1. How does the SPF prioritise which cases to handle first, and which ones are less urgent?

2. How many officers were/are involved in the handling of the case in question?

3. How does the SPF decide how much manpower to devote to each case?
Thank you for your kind attention. Please note that we will be making public this letter, as well as any replies from the SPF.

We look forward to hearing back soon.
Lynn Lee, Jennifer Teo, Shelley Thio, Jolovan Wham, Woon Tien Wei, Rachel Zeng