Following the controversy surrounding the viral video featuring two of its officers and a lorry driver near Woodlands Checkpoint last Friday (21 Dec), the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced the next day that it has turned in the matter to the Singapore Police Force.
ICA added in its statement that the decision was taken after concluding its “preliminary investigations”, and added that officers in question “have also been taken off operational duties pending the Police investigation”.
The Authority said that its findings “showed that the two officers, who were performing traffic control duties at Woodlands Crossing, was directing the container truck which was on its way to Woodlands Checkpoint for departure clearance”.
It added: “The truck driver, who was driving on the rightmost lane of the three-lane Woodlands Centre Road, disregarded the officers’ instructions and drove recklessly across three lanes into the officers’ direction, endangering the lives of the officers and other road users.”
“The officers,” claimed ICA, “confronted the driver and engaged” in what it called “a physical altercation” with said driver.
“ICA takes a serious view of this incident. Our officers are expected to discharge their duties professionally.
“ICA does not condone such behaviour, even if the driver may have disregarded the safety of others,” the Authority concluded.
Several netizens have criticised ICA’s course of action and argued that the penalty enforced against the officers appears to be too lenient in comparison to the officers’ treatment of the lorry driver:
Other netizens rationalised the action taken by the ICA officers in the video, adding that their supervisors and ICA’s upper rung of management should have provided support instead of punishing them, as netizens believe that the officers were acting out of necessity in the face of potentially grave danger posed by the lorry driver:
The video, which has garnered approximately 118k views as of Tuesday (25 Dec), was first posted on social media All Singapore Stuff’s Facebook page on Saturday (22 Dec).
The admin of the page highlighted that the video was sent in to the page by a reader named Wan, who was quoted as saying:
“Relax la, no matter what crime the lorry driver did, need to beat him like that or not?
“Can i know who is this ICA officer, who tell him got the right to hit the lorry driver, pls take action to this ICA officer… im singaporean and i know the law..”
<Credits: Azman Aziz>
The admin added a note at the end: “Anyway does the video taker have eagle eyes? So far away can confirm say its ICA officer committing the offence?”
A significant number of netizens expressed their shock and dismay over the two officers’ treatment of the driver, with many commenters arguing that such a great degree of force was not at all necessary, even in a situation that necessitates self-defence:
Other netizens appeared to defend the ICA officers’ actions and argued that the officers’ conduct was justified in the name of protecting Singapore’s national security interests:
A few commenters — while acknowledging that the ICA officers did not take the best course of action in dealing with the purportedly reckless and dangerous actions of the driver — appeared to empathise with the officers, given the physically and psychologically demanding nature of their work: