Tag Archives: ministry of home affairs

The Recent Rise in Alleged Child Abduction and Mass Hysteria

Singapore is now a haven for child abductions?
Singapore is now a haven for child abductions?

Mass hysteria is a form of groupthink, in which several people with something in common begin to think in the same way. In mass hysteria, the group members all develop a common fear that often spirals into a panic. The group members feed off each other’s emotional reactions, causing the panic to escalate.

As a father of a baby son, I am naturally concerned when there seem to be a recent spike in alleged child abduction sightings in Singapore. Nonetheless, I am sceptical on how true these allegations are and am more inclined to believe they are the results of mass hysteria.

Why?

1. Singapore law is extremely harsh on kidnappers. Kidnapping is classified as a capital offense in Singapore, punishable by the death penalty. It would be extremely stupid for criminals to commit kidnapping for monetary gain when their lives can be at stake if they are caught.

2. Many of the alleged sightings are in HDB estates like Tampines and Ang Mo Kio, involving random children. This do not make sense from a criminal perspective – if one was willing to put his or her life at risk to commit kidnapping, why not go for children of parents who can pay higher ransom? Naturally, the target should be from more prime real estates like Bukit Timah and Holland Village.

3. Many of the alleged kidnappers were described as of China nationality. Many Singaporeans harbour a strong air of suspicion against China residents in Singapore, due to some of our government policies over the past few years which seem to favour foreigners over locals. The suspicion could have been irrationally channeled to hatred and a willingness to attribute negativity like crime to the China residents here.

4. Similar kidnapping rumours have been circulating in Hong Kong as early as in September 2005, during the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland. Even till today, the theme attraction continues to be plagued with unsubstantiated stories of child abduction by China nationals. In June 2011, a Singaporean couple alleged their daughter was “almost kidnapped” by two female China nationals at Hong Kong Disneyland. The claim was unverified and unsubstantiated. It could be the catalyst in “importing” such alleged child abduction into Singapore.

What then, should Singapore parents do?

Stay calm, don’t panic.

If you are a responsible parent, you would have taught your child not to accept gifts from strangers or follow them to unfamiliar places. You would also have taken the necessary precautions to safe-guard his movements and daily routines.

If these measures are in place, one need not be overly concerned. Just keep up the good work you are doing as a parent.

Having said that, I think our relevant authorities like the Singapore Police Force and the Ministry of Home Affairs should do something to address this growing hysteria though.

Act fast, pick the thorn out of the flesh before the wound gets too big for any medication.

If there is truth in the allegations, take actions. If they are unfound rumours, engage the public and advise everyone against rumour-mongering.

Do you remember the mass hysteria over the many alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) in the 80s?

Satanic ritual abuse, sometimes known as ritual abuse, ritualistic abuse, organised abuse, sadistic ritual abuse and other variants, refers to a moral panic that originated in the United States in the 1980s, spreading throughout the country and eventually to many parts of the world, before subsiding in the late 1990s. Allegations of SRA involved reports of physical and sexual abuse of individuals in the context of occult or Satanic rituals. At its most extreme definition, SRA involved a worldwide conspiracy involving the wealthy and powerful of the world elite in which children were abducted or bred for sacrifices, pornography and prostitution.

This many sound really far-fetched, but many people were scare stiff by SRA rumours in the 80s.

Going back even further into Singapore’s history, have you heard of the term “Koro”?

Koro is a culture-specific syndrome from Southeast Asia in which the person has an overpowering belief that his penis (or other genitalia) is shrinking and will shortly disappear. Also known as shrinking penis, the syndrome is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

A koro epidemic struck Singapore in October 1967 for about ten days. Newspapers initially reported that some people developed koro after eating the meat of pigs inoculated with anti-swine-flu vaccine. Rumours relating eating pork and koro spread after a further report of an inoculated pig dying from penile retraction. The cases reported amounted to 97 in a single hospital unit within one day, at five days after the original news report. Government and medical officials alleviated the outbreak only by public announcements over television and in the newspapers.

Koro sounds really stupid now isn’t it? Yet in the 60s, many Singaporeans believe in it!

I hope this child abduction thing do not develop into another wikipedia entry on examples of mass hysteria like SRA and Koro.

Fellow Singaporeans and fellow parents; again, stay calm, don’t panic! Don’t spread the fear until the abduction rumours are substantiated.

Getting to Know the Commissioner of the SCDF, Peter Lim Sin Pang and CNB Chief, Ng Boon Gay

Peter Lim Sin Pang and Ng Boon Gay in the headlines of Lianhe Wanbao today (24 Jan 2012)
Peter Lim Sin Pang and Ng Boon Gay in the headlines of Lianhe Wanbao today (24 Jan 2012)

Who are these two dudes?

They are currently in the news for the wrong reason this Chinese New Year.

Via a report in Chinese evening papers, Lianhe Wanbao today, the Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Peter Lim Sin Pang, 51, has been suspended from work since last month.

Other than him, Central Narcotic Bureau (CNB) Chief Ng Boon Gay and six other SCDF officials are under investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB). Two SCDF officials who hold senior ranks are amongst the six under investigation.

Quoting reliable sources, Lianhe Wanbao stated that the case is linked to money and women. There are no further details on the case.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that both Mr Lim and Mr Ng are on leave for now. MHA is due to issue a statement tomorrow.

Meanwhile, let’s get to know these two important guys better through their official resume.

Peter Lim Sin Pang

Peter Lim Sin Pang rubbing shoulder with Singapore's favourite president
Peter Lim Sin Pang rubbing shoulder with Singapore's favourite president

Mr. Peter Lim first joined the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in 1987 as a Fire Safety Engineer. In the course of his career, Mr. Peter Lim assumed various leadership and key management appointments, including Division Commander, Head of the Operations Department in Headquarters, SCDF, Director of the Civil Defence Academy, Assistant Commissioner of the General Staff and Deputy Commissioner of SCDF.

On 20 May 2009, Mr Peter Lim was officially appointed as the Commissioner of SCDF by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Mr Peter Lim graduated in 1986 from the University of Applied Science, Hamburg, Germany with a Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has also participated in the Columbia Senior Executive Program in 2003 and the Stanford Executive Program in 2008.

Ng Boon Gay

Ng Boon Gay smiling at our Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean
Ng Boon Gay smiling at our Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean

Mr Ng Boon Gay, 44, joined the Singapore Police Force in 1991 when he was awarded the Local Merit Scholarship. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Science 1st Class Honours in Mathematics. He also holds a Master of Business of Administration. In his 19-year career with the SPF during which he rose to the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner, he has held amongst others, key appointments as Commander Tanglin Police Division and Director Manpower Department.

Mr Ng was appointed Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) (刑事侦查局局长) in April 2008. Under his leadership, major crime cases solved include the murder and the recovery of a decomposed body at Lor Sesuai; the highly publicized abduction case at Chiltern Drive; the Kallang knife attacks case and, most recently the Woodlands murder case.

To fight the menace created by the unlicensed moneylending activities, Mr Ng had directed stepped up enforcement actions which resulted in the busting of numerous syndicates and arrests of close to two thousand offenders in the last two years.

Mr Ng had also played a key role in cleaning up the streets from sleaze in Singapore.

In the area of development, Mr Ng has reviewed and enhanced the capabilities of the CID crime and technology forensic capabilities to better support investigations.

As a staff authority in investigation, Mr Ng had reviewed and proposed changes to the set up of the Investigation Branches in the Land Divisions so as to better equip frontline investigators to deal with new challenges.

Mr Ng was involved in the recent amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code and has put in place preparation plans for its implementation.

Last but not least, Mr Ng also oversaw the setting up of the Casino Investigation Branch to deal with cases related to the casinos in the Integrated Resorts.

LATEST UPDATE – MHA MEDIA RELEASE ON PETER LIM SIN PANG AND NG BOON GAY:

24 January 2012
SCDF and CNB Officers assisting in CPIB investigation

Former Commissioner Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) Mr Peter Lim Sin Pang and former Director of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) Mr Ng Boon Gay are currently assisting the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in its investigations into allegations of serious personal misconduct.

2 Investigations began in end December 2011 in the case of Mr Ng Boon Gay and in early January 2012 in the case of Mr Peter Lim Sin Pang. Both officers were placed on leave from their duties when the investigations commenced. Their duties have been covered by their respective deputies. Taking into account the current status of the investigations, both will be interdicted from their duties with effect from 25 January 2012, pending disciplinary proceedings.

3 The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also decided to appoint Mr Eric Yap Wee Teck and Mr Ng Ser Song to assume command of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) respectively with effect from 1 February 2012. This is to ensure leadership continuity of both organisations.

4 MHA expects Home Team officers to uphold the highest standards of duty and integrity. MHA views allegations of misconduct seriously. The Ministry and the two Home Team departments and relevant officers will continue to give their fullest assistance and cooperation to the CPIB in its investigations.

5 As investigations are ongoing, MHA is unable to comment on the details of the case. The investigations will establish the facts, and the officers will be accorded due process and a fair hearing in accordance with the civil service disciplinary process and the law.

Ministry of Home Affairs
24 January 2012

Mas Selamat Kastari captured in Johor!

Mas Selamat Kastari
Mas Selamat Kastari

Singapore’s most wanted man, Mas Selamat Kastari has been caught in Johor Bahru!

I just read this in the headline of the Straits Times today. Apparently, he was caught on 1 April 20009 (really, it’s not an April’s Fool Day joke), but details have only just been leaked by the Malaysian authorities.

After thirteen months on the run, the guy who has his face plastered in every notch and corner of Singapore in the biggest manhunt ever is finally captured. The ironic is he had been hiding just a stone’s throw away in nearby Johor all this while!

There’s no details yet as to how he managed to slip across the Singapore-Malaysian customs, amidst the heightened security check after his escape.  That would be something a lot of us would want to find out.

Here’s the report via Straits Times.com:

Mas Selamat captured
May 8, 2009
Fugitive who escaped from Whitley detention centre last year is tracked down and captured in Johor after tip-off from Singapore; he is being held for interrogation by Malaysia
By Leslie Lopez, Senior Regional Correspondent

Sources told The Straits Times that Mas Selamat was tracked down based on intelligence provided by Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD), and a joint operation by Malaysia and Singapore’s security agencies eventually led to his arrest.

KUALA LUMPUR: Thirteen months after his audacious escape from detention in Singapore, Mas Selamat Kastari has been caught in Malaysia.

Singapore’s most wanted terrorist was captured on April 1 while hiding in Johor, regional intelligence sources told The Straits Times.

Intelligence provided by Singapore’s Internal Security Department late last year led to a joint operation between Malaysia and Singapore’s security agencies that eventually saw them arresting Mas Selamat in Johor in April.

It was not the first time that information from Singapore helped to nab the escape artist.
… more
It is believed that he was nabbed in the outskirts of Johor Baru and is now being held by the Malaysian authorities for interrogation.

It is not known how he slipped out of Singapore or when he entered Malaysia.

Intelligence provided by Singapore’s Internal Security Department late last year led to a joint operation between Malaysia and Singapore’s security agencies that eventually saw them arresting Mas Selamat in Johor in April.

It was not the first time that information from Singapore helped to nab the escape artist.

In February 2003, tip-offs by the Singapore authorities had led Indonesian police to monitor Mas Selamat’s movements after he arrived in Indonesia. They tracked him to Tanjung Pinang in Bintan, arresting him just after he arrived by ferry from Dumai in Riau.

After Mas Selamat was released in August 2005, the Singapore police made another request to their Indonesian counterparts to track him again.

In January 2006, they found him at a neighbourhood mosque in Sengkaling, East Java. He was handed over to Singapore the following month.

Although he was arrested six weeks ago, the Malaysian authorities have not yet announced the capture.

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