Distributing flyers trial: Who’s lying?

April 29, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

We reported this week about the police not knowing the law (here) and then making one up (here) in the case where SDP leaders are being charged with assembly without a permit when they distributed flyers in 2006.

There’s more. During the hearing that took place from 13-23 Apr 09, police witnesses contradicted each other’s testimony and just couldn’t get their stories straight. The discrepancies were so great that it would be difficult to attribute them simply to a failure of memory.

Glass door? What glass door?

The first controversy surfaced when Station Inspector (SI) Kelvin Bong Fook Seng of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) repeatedly testified in an earlier tranche of the hearing that he had been standing behind a glass door with his subordinates at the entrance of Raffles City whilst keeping watch on the group distributing flyers:

Chee Soon Juan: You testified that when you saw Ms Chee [Siok Chin] and I, you were standing at the entrance behind the glass door?

Kelvin Bong: Yes

Chee: You were observing us, together with your team, from behind the glass door?

Bong: Yes.

Chee: Your view through the glass door was clear?

Bong: Yes, I could see through the glass.

Chee: Where were your team members?

Bong: Behind the glass door…I positioned myself behind the glass door and moved along the glass door to find the best position for observation.

Chee: You remember that [your three team members] were with you behind the glass door?

The glass door was folded

The glass door was folded

Bong: Correct.

His teammate, Staff Sergeant Damien Oh Wei Jin, also from the CID, testified during the latest tranche, however, that there were no glass doors across the entrance because they were folded on each side of the entrance (see photo on right).

“So from what you can recollect there was no glass door, right?” asked Dr Chee.

“Yes.”

Dr Chee then produced photographs of the Raffles City entrance: “Was the glass door folded like this?”

“Yes,” Sgt Oh confirmed.

Another of SI Bong’s teammates, CID Staff Sergeant Derrick Lim Yong Khiang, also said that he did not stand behind any glass door because it was folded.

Did Mr Kelvin Bong lie under oath?

It’s all about timing

Bong (extreme right) and his team of CID officers

Bong (extreme right) and his team of CID officers

Then there was the small matter of getting their times right. SI Bong and his team of Sgts Damien Oh and Derrick Lim testified that they had engaged the activists from 12:50 to 12:55 pm on the day of the incident.

A few minutes later between 1 to 1:05 pm they left the scene.

DSP Mohd Hassan, who was heading another team that comprised of himself and one Inspector Patrick Lim, told the court that he had seen Mr Gandhi Ambalam and Dr Chee Soon Juan distributing flyers outside Raffles City.

But the DSP said that the two SDP leaders had suddenly disappeared at about 12:40 pm upon which the officer said that he went in search of them. (See here)

Mr Hassan also testified that Dr Chee and Mr Ambalam returned to Raffles City Shopping Centre at 1 pm. It was only shortly thereafter that he and his partner, Insp Lim, approached Dr Chee to ask him to stop distributing the pamphlets.

When Insp Lim took the stand, he also said that he and DSP Hassan had engaged Dr Chee between 1:15 to 1:20 pm, corroborating his partner’s testimony – almost.

Mr Lim said that when he was engaging Dr Chee during that time with Mr Hassan, he saw SI Kelvin Bong and his teammates engaging the other activists.

Hassan engaging Chee

Hassan engaging Chee

How could this be? Mr Bong said he confronted the other activists at 12:50 pm. This was way before Messrs Hassan and Lim had engaged Dr Chee at 1:15 pm. By about 1 to 1:05 pm, SI Bong and his team had already left the location outside Raffles City.

How could Mr Lim have seen Mr Bong engage the other activists when Mr Bong had already left scene? Who’s lying?

In addition, DSP Hassan said that he went in search of Dr Chee and Mr Ambalam at 12:40 pm and returned at 1 pm, a period of about 20 minutes. But his partner, Insp Lim, told the court that Mr Hassan was gone for about 35 to 40 minutes.

It gets worse. Mr Hassan said in his testimony that he and Mr Lim left Raffles City Shopping Centre shortly after his engagement with Dr Chee – at about 1:30 pm.

But his partner – who said that he and Mr Hassan never left each other’s side after they engaged Dr Chee – left Raffles City only at about 2:30 pm. That’s a difference of one hour!

Again, which one of the two is lying?

Remember, these are not rookies. SI Bong and his men are experienced police personnel with the CID. Messrs Hassan and Partrick Lim are senior officers of the Singapore Police Force. Yet, they present such utter rubbish in court.

And all this because they want to prosecute a group distributing flyers in “opposition to the actions of the Government.” Only in Singapore…