Activists insist police return cell phones

April 12, 2008
Singapore Democrats

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The activists who were arrested for the 15 Mar protest outside Parliament House today questioned the police why their mobile phones were still not returned to them.

The group were present at the Police Cantonment Complex at the expiration of their bail bonds. The protesters had made it clear that they were not going to continue going down to the police station to extend their bail bonds as this was a waste of time.

Mr Gandhi Ambalam, chairman of the Singapore Democrats, told Investigating Officer Yew Ai Choo: “Don’t worry, we’re not going to run away. You can’t get rid of us.”

The police then gave the activists a letter stating that they were going to allow the bail bonds “to lapse” but insisted that the investigations were not completed. In other words, the protesters were no longer on bail.

What about the cellphones? Inspector Yew said that they had to retain it for investigation purposes.

“But why can’t you download whatever information you want and return us the phones?” the activists enquired.

“Uh, we need it for investigation purposes,” Mr Yew said.

“Yes, you already told us that. What we want to know is why you need the phone itself when you can just download the information in there.”

“I can just say that we need it for investigation purposes.”

Seeing that they were not getting anywhere, the group then went to the Attorney-General’s Chambers. After going from one receptionist to another, the marchers ended up with a Mr Jayarajan, a deputy manager at the Chambers.

In the course of the exchange Mr Jayarajan disappeared a few times apparently to consult his superior. Each time he re-appeared, however, there were no fresh answers.

He was subsequently joined by a Mr Lee Sing Lit, who identified himself as a Deputy Public Prosecutor. After hearing the activists, the DPP told them that he would come back with an answer in ten minutes.

Ten minutes passed and no sign of Mr Lee. An exhausted Mr Jayarajan finally appeared and informed the group that a letter would be sent to our lawyer, Mr M Ravi.

He then requested us to leave the place as it was closed for the lunch break. After spending nearly two hours at the AG’s Chambers, the marchers left the place still without their phones.

The matter is, however, far from over.