It was reported on TOC last week (21 Jul 2023) that Sgt Uvaraja S/0 Gopal, 36, was found unconscious at Block 393 Yishun Avenue 6 and later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
Sgt Uvaraja has been described as a dedicated officer of the Singapore Police Force (SPF) by his friends. The SPF confirmed that it is not treating the case as a criminal matter at this stage.
However, before his death, a farewell message was posted on his Facebook page, detailing the alleged challenges he faced at his workplace in Ang Mo Kio.
The distressing account painted a picture of a toxic workplace culture, rife with favouritism, prejudice, and bullying. The Facebook post has since been taken down.
It was claimed that Sgt Uvaraja was frequently undermined, demeaned, and even bullied due to his race.
Despite strong performance and being loaded with the team’s work, he was sidelined while receiving little recognition.
Some of the accounts on Sgt Uvaraja’s Facebook page include:
“In 2023 I faced my worst supervisor, CIO clement disc from ang mo kio poice division ib. He repeatedly humiliated me and shouted at me without humanity. I was being made fun off.”
“I went everywhere to ask for help but was shunned and said I was disobidient for reporting the wrongdoings. Commander zed teo treated me like a accused along with CIO Clement disc. My health suffered… I was being treated like a lowest life form.”
The posting has alleged that Commander Zed Teo treated Sgt Uvaraja like an “accused”, which apparently also contributed to Sgt Uvaraja’s mental suffering.
High-flyer Commander Zed Teo
Indeed, one of the assistant commissioners of Police is AC Zed Teo Zi-Ming. According to the SPF website, Teo was in charge of the SPF Ang Mo Kio Police Division till 30 May this year before he left.
Teo was, in fact, appointed Commander of Ang Mo Kio Police Division on 01 October 2020.
He is a police scholar and joined the SPF in 2003. During his time with the SPF, he had held several key appointments, including Deputy Commander of Woodlands Police Division, Senior Assistant Director (Policy Development) of the Policy Development Division in the Ministry of Home Affairs and concurrently as Special Assistant to Minister for Home Affairs, and Head Operations and Training of Ang Mo Kio Police Division.
Despite only serving three months as commander of Ang Mo Kio Division, he somehow managed to lead his division to “win the Best Land Division Competition in 2020”, according to the SPF website.
In 2020, the Straits Times (ST) also featured Teo as a prominent scholar of SPF. “From hunting down loan sharks in heartland towns to being in the thick of international diplomacy, DAC Teo’s decade-long career at Singapore Police Force (SPF) has been both action-packed and rewarding,” wrote ST.
Teo was awarded the SPF Scholarship in 2003 to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Physics at Imperial College London in the UK, followed by a Master in LKY School of Public Policy.
ST wrote how studying Physics was relevant to Teo’s police work, “While studying Physics, the intellectual rigour for the subject trained valuable analytical thinking skills that are crucial for his roles in the SPF. They included brainstorming for solutions to deal with current heartland issues such as phone scams, and tackle challenges on the organisational level.”
After he finished his studies at Imperial College and LKY School of Public Policy, he came back for his officer training and was posted to the Central Police Division as an Investigation Officer. In 3 short years, he rose through the ranks and had already become the Commanding Officer of Toa Payoh NPC.
During the ST interview, Teo told ST, “The camaraderie and ethos of the SPF were familiar and resonated with me. I wanted a career that would be both exciting and meaningful. A policing career fits the bill perfectly.”
And during a one-and-a-half-year stint as Special Assistant to the Minister for Home Affairs in 2015, he had the opportunity to witness decision-making at the highest level of government alongside Cabinet ministers and foreign stakeholders, ST said.
He later went on to take the SPF Postgraduate Scholarship and earned two more degrees – an MBA from Wharton School and a MA in International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I’m grateful to the SPF for providing me with such opportunities to develop myself,” he said. “I have no doubt that a public service career is best suited for me… The sense of mission and purpose is irreplaceable.”
“As a leader in the SPF, I take pride in my responsibility of leading fellow police officer well as they safeguard the people of Singapore,” he added.
At the time of the interview with ST in Feb 2020, he was only a Deputy Commander. He did not hide his ambition wanting o become a full Commander as he told ST, “I hope to have the opportunity to become Commander of a Police Division in the near future. As Commander, you are placed in charge of some 1,000 officers and are in a unique position to make a difference through service and leadership.”
Indeed, eight months after the interview, Teo got his wish and became the Commander of Ang Mo Kio Police Division in Oct 2020. And there, he met the ill-fated Sgt Uvaraja, who, according to the officer’s Facebook page account, claimed that Teo had treated the Sgt like an “accused”.
Teo joins US blockchain analysis firm on secondment
Strangely, according to Teo’s LinkedIn page, it was stated that after he left Ang Mo Kio Police Division at the end of May this year, he went on to join Chainalysis Inc in New York “on secondment from the Singapore Public Service”.
Chainalysis is an American blockchain analysis firm headquartered in New York City.
The company was founded in 2014, and is the first start-up company dedicated to the business of Bitcoin tracing.
Its customers have included the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, as well as the UK’s National Crime Agency.
SPF to review allegations made by deceased police officer
In a statement on Monday, addressing SGT Uvaraja’s allegations of racial discrimination, SPF confirmed they were initially made in 2015 and were found to be unsubstantiated.
However, they pledged to “review and investigate again these allegations,” and submit their findings to the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Minister for Home Affairs.