(As posted on Prime Minister Lee’s Facebook, May 1st, 2017).
Was SPF’s (Singapore Police Force) action in raiding the home at midnight of a 76-year-old man beyond reproach?
The said police incident (involved two SPF officers in mufti) took place in the small hours last Thursday (April 27/28) at Mr Koh Eng Khoon’s MacPherson residence. Mr. Koh is chairperson of the Sungei Road flea market Association for the Recycling of Second Hand Goods; that street market area is now slated for permanent closure this July to make way for residential development.
Accordingly, SPF acted on complaints from top gov. officials after they received grievance letters (penned in English) — purportedly signed off by Mr. Koh — allegedly of a non-threatening but lamenting nature highlighting the fate of the flea market. Included as nuisance in those letters were token paper monies for the afterworld, meant to be offered as burnt offerings for the departed in local traditional Chinese remembrance rituals. Reportedly, Mr. Koh’s home was searched in the dead of night and the Police confiscated his handphone.
As is the practice in Singapore under the Constitution, there is no mandated requirement for prior Court-issued warrant for Police to perform a home search and/or a seizure of personal effects thereof. It is all the more reason then, SPF should be acutely mindful of their professionalism in carrying out any such search and seizure operations lest they come across as Gestapo-like.
At the conclusion of this ongoing Police investigation, I’ll be all ears as to just what SPF’s justification was for a midnight raid on an old man’s home over an apparently nuisance incident involving no clear and present danger to national security.