An elderly Singaporean claims that he was wrongly arrested by plainclothes police officers in an alley along Rowell Road on 5 July 2015 at 5 pm. He further alleged that the officers had threatened to beat him up for speaking back at them.
It has been three months since Mr Yet Bin Hin, 58, resigned from his previous job of a cleaner at a coffeeshop due to health problems.
According to Mr Yet, he was pushing his bicycle through the alley when a man came up to him in plainclothes and asked for his identification card. Despite not being shown a warrant card, Mr Yet assumed that the man was a police officer as he thought to himself that only a police officer has the authority to ask for one’s identification.
Mr Yet chooses not to say anything to the officer, and just handed his NRIC over to him. When the officer took his NRIC, he said something which Mr Yet did not expect.
This was the exchange between Mr Yet and the police officers based on Mr Yet’s testimony:
Officer, speaking in Malay: “Saya tidak otang anda”, “I did not owe you money”
Mr Yet retorted back, also in Malay: “I also did not owe you money”.
Officer: “Why you talk so loud?”
Mr Yet: “Is there anything wrong with speaking loud?”
Another officer (“Officer 2”) then walked over to show his police warrant card to Mr Yet:
Officer 2: “Saya police” (“I am police”)
Mr Yet: “Saya tahu” (“I know”)
The officer asked Mr Yet why he was speaking so loud?
Mr Yet retorted back by saying that it was the first officer who had spoken loudly first.
“Officer 2” asked Mr Yet if Mr Yet believes that he [Officer 2] would hit Mr Yet up.
Mr Yet challenged the officer to beat him up if he really wishes to do so: “You want, you beat la”.
Another 3rd officer came up to Mr Yet and said, “Why you so loud?”, Mr Yet replied to the officer that it is because the 2nd officer threatened to beat him up.
Subsequently, Mr Yet was handcuffed by the officers and pulled to a corner where three other individuals were also at. According to Mr Yet, only he and another Bangladeshi were handcuffed and escorted to the Rochor police station subsequently.
Mr Yet was seated in the police station on a stool while still being handcuffed. The three who were also arrested were interviewed at the police station while Mr Yet was to be transferred to Cantonment Police Station for questioning.
“I knew they were going to press unfounded charges against me after knowing that I am being transferred to Cantonment police station,” Mr Yet said.
When the police car came for him to bring him over to the Cantonment Police headquarters, Mr Yet said two of the officers who arrested him said to him outside the police station, “You better be careful, I see you one time, I catch you one time, I see you ten times, I catch you ten times.”
According to Mr Yet, the two Chinese uniformed officers who were escorting him heard the conversation and had acknowledged that they did during the trip in the police vehicle.
At Cantonment Police headquarters, Mr Yet was placed in remand in a cell with a few other detainees before being interviewed by an Investigation Officer (IO) assigned to his case. The IO told him that the police is charging him. Mr Yet retorted that there was no evidence of that charge.
Mr Yet did not receive a copy of the statement nor the charge against him, but told TOC that he was charged for unruly behaviour, which is most likely to be “Riotous, disorderly or indecent behaviour in, or in the immediate vicinity of, certain places” under the penal code.
The statement was written in English and Mr Yet could not understand what was written as he does not understand English. He signed the statement as he did not think the police officer would frame him.
When he was finally released on a $5,000 bail at 9.30am the next day, Mr Yet went straight to the counter at the Police headquarters to file a complaint based on what he had gone through.
When the staff at the counter asked if the complaint is completed, Mr Yet said the duty officer pulled him to a quiet corner where he shared with Mr Yet that this is something common and is not much of an issue, “没有事”.
The duty officer promised Mr Yet that he will talk with the duty officer and the four officers at Rochor police station to resolve the situation for him and at most he would get a warning letter for the charge against him.
A day after the incident, Mr Yet was contemplating of letting the issue go but could not bear the fact that he was to be given a warning letter for an offence he did not commit.
“It is unfair! How can police officers behave in this manner? Can such individuals be considered as police officers?” said Mr Yet in Chinese.
Singapore Police Force in response to TOC’s queries wrote, “We regret to inform you that as all information relating to investigation is confidential, we will be unable to provide you with any update on this case.”