Distributing flyers trial: Officers can’t even make a proper police report

May 3, 2009
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

Singapore Democrats

In this fourth and last instalment of a series of reports of the trial of Mr Gandhi Ambalam, Dr Chee Soon Juan and Ms Chee Siok Chin, we reveal how CID officers make a hash over the lodging of their police reports, a basic duty that all officers should be familiar with. You couldn’t make this up.

Sgt Derrick Lim Yong Khiang had on 10 Sep 06 seized the flyers that Ms Hakirat Kaur was distributing. He also jotted down Ms Kaur’s name, address and NRIC number on a piece of paper. The officer said that he had then returned to his office that afternoon and lodged a police report.

How not to make a report

Due to “systems error”, however, Sgt Lim said that he could not enter the particulars of Ms Kaur into the computerised report. He nevertheless printed out a hard copy of the report after he was done and handed it to his superior.

It was subsequently brought to his attention that Ms Kaur’s identity and address — the most crucial piece of information in a report — were missing. And get this: The glaring omission was only detected a couple of hours later.

Note: Mr Lim had trouble entering Ms Kaur’s information into the computer. He was aware that it was a systems error that was causing him the inconvenience. And yet when he printed out the report, he simply gave it to his superior without bothering to fill in the data.

When Mr Lim proceeded to handwrite the information on the report after his error was pointed out to him, he misspelled Ms Kaur’s name: “Hakirat Kaur” was written as “Kirat Kaur”. Either Mr Lim was taking his afternoon nap while preparing the report or he was shockingly incompetent. (The officer had even typed his own particulars incorrectly: under “Race” he recorded “English” and under “Language” he typed in “Chinese”.)

Worse, was he lying? Sgt Lim revealed that immediately after he had made his report, his team in-charge SI Kelvin Bong sat at Sgt Lim’s computer to do his own report. SI Bong did not have any trouble keying in the data of his subject, Ms Chee Siok Chin. Systems error?

A simple report with multiple errors

A simple report with multiple errors

Monkey see, monkey do?

If Sgt Lim was Laurel, SI Kelvin Bong ably played the role of Hardy. Mr Lim had made a series of typographical errors in his report: the word “abovementioned” was incorrectly spelled “abovemetioned”, “the” was typed in twice consecutively, etc.

Mr Bong’s report carried the same typographical errors as Mr Lim’s. It was obvious that the SI had simply cut and pasted his subordinate’s work. It is bad enough that Mr Bong would copy someone else’s report but what is truly tragic is that the SI didn’t even bother to check the content and amend the errors.

During cross-examination, however, Sgt Derrick Lim could not bring himself to admit that his colleague did a cut and paste job. The officer had testified that his superior had typed his own report.

“Then can you please tell the court how the exact same errors appeared in both your reports?” Dr Chee queried.

“I have no answer to this,” replied Sgt Lim.

Signing off

What is worse (if that’s possible), in Mr Kelvin Bong’s report the officer signed off as the “Informant” while his subordinate signed off as the “Officer Recording The Report.” (See photo below)

“What do you mean by the word ‘informant’?” Dr Chee asked Sgt Lim.

“The informant is the person who provides the information,” the witness confirmed.

Misleading signatures on a public document

Misleading signatures on a public document

“Was Kelvin Bong the informant that day?”

“No.”

“Did you record his report?”

“No.”

So why did SI Bong sign off as the Informant and Sgt Lim as the recording officer?

“Because the report was generated from my computer,” was the response. These officers have obviously mastered the art of giving a reply without answering the question.

Were the signatures computerised so that they could not be altered?

“No.”

So why couldn’t the report have been printed out for Mr Kelvin Bong to sign with a pen in the proper column?

“As I have already said, it was from my computer,” Sgt Lim insisted on repeating the nonsense.

This is the calibre of the police officers we have today. Not only is incompetence and sloth evident, the officers cannot even bring themselves to admit to errors, choosing instead to make a further fool of themselves by insisting on giving nonsensical answers.

In this series:
Part I – Confused officers
Part II – Police making up law
Part III – Who’s lying?

Read also Yawning Bread’s Flyers and flying laws.