Prosecution witness Mohd Hassan told the court this week that all the ground forces assigned for the WB-IMF meeting in 2006 were deployed to Hong Lim Park to stop Dr Chee Soon Juan and other activists from conducting a march.
Mr Hassan, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, was testifying at the trial of Mr Gandhi Ambalam, Ms Chee Siok Chin, Dr Chee Soon Juan, Mr Tan Teck Wee, and Mr Teoh Tian Jing who are charged with attempting to participate in a procession from the Speakers’ Corner on 16 Sep 06.
The trial, presided by District Judge Toh Yung Cheong, had commenced in November last year but could not finish in the time alotted and was adjourned 18-20 Feb 09.
Under cross-examination by Ms Chee DSP Hassan said that about 50 officers from various units of the Singapore Police Force were deployed to perform one goal and one goal only: To stop six activists from conducting a peaceful march.
Mr Hassan also testified that police officers had instructed to “advise” members of the public against going to Speakers’ Corner to join in the “unlawful assembly”.
The police operation came under the command of no less than a Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Mr Raymond Yeo, who was the one to order that Dr Chee be stopped from carrying out the procession.
That very evening while the police personnel were amassed at Hong Lim Park to guard the protesters, a murder was taking place one street away. A man was attacked by a gang of ten and stabbed repeatedly in the abdomen outside a 7-Eleven store at Central Square, Havelock Road at 1:30 am. He died shortly thereafter. (See here)
But DAC Raymond Yeo was busy plotting how to defeat six peaceful protesters who were exercising their constitutional rights at Speakers’ Corner.
During the hearing, the Prosecution seemed anxious to hide the identity of DAC Yeo. Mr Hassan prevaricated at length and only revealed Mr Raymond Yeo’s identity after Ms Chee Siok Chin pressed the issue:
Chee: Did you notice other police officers in the vicinity?
Chee: Can you tell us who they were?
Hassan: I do not know them.
Chee: Don’t know or cannot recall?
Hassan: I don’t know them, many of them I saw for the first time.
Chee: Did you see familiar faces i.e. those you knew?
Hassan: Yes, around were several faces which I’ve seen before. I can recognise by face because I have come across them. I can’t say for those officers whether they knew my name.
Chee: I’m asking you the names of the few officers whom you knew, not whether they knew you.
Hassan: The uniformed officers whom I recognised and spoken to them before but I can’t remember their names.
Chee: Again witness I’m asking you to name those whom you knew.
DPP: Your Honour, I believe the question has been answered.
Chee: The witness is evading the question. When I ask him for names he talks about uniformed officers whom he’s spoken to which he cannot recall by name. My question is very specific.
Judge: I’ll allow this question of just giving names.
Hassan: Like I said I recognise familiar faces but I cannot name them now.
Chee: Were there other officers there whom you can recognise and know them by their names?
Chee: Were you the highest ranking officer at the scene?
Chee: So there was a higher ranking officer than you at the scene?
Chee: Who would that be?
DPP: Relevance, Your Honour? How is this question going to aid her defence?
Judge: I’ll allow this question.
Hassan: Mr Raymond Yeo, deputy assistant of commissioner of police.
Chee: It would make your testimony more credible if you were to stop evading my questions and start to answer them directly. You had earlier testified that you don’t have any other names. Now you come out with one name. In light of this discovery that you had not been entirely truthful, I’m going to ask you again to name all the persons you know by name at the scene.
Hassan: Apart from Mr Raymond Yeo, let’s see who else I can recall…ASP William Goh and ASP Ming Jun.
Mr Hassan was also the officer who had confronted Dr Chee at Raffles City Shopping Centre on 10 Sep 06 to stop the SDP secretary-general and other activists from distributing pamphlets about the 16-Sep march. (See here).