SINGAPORE: The Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Tuesday (29 June) addressed allegations of police mistreatment made by a man who was arrested and detained in police custody for drunk driving in February 2020.
The man, See Kian Beng, made his claims in a video interview posted on The Online Citizen Asia Facebook page on Monday.
In the video, See claimed that he was held in a police cell for too long, and that he was assigned a padded cell despite it being indicated that he suffers from claustrophobia, the SPF said.
The SPF said he allegedly stopped him and used excessive force to take him to the padded cell, causing his injuries.
See also alleged that police ignored his request to use the toilet so much that he ended up urinating inside his cell, the SPF said. He also said that he was not given food.
He also alleged that the police refused to allow him to contact his family, that medical staff at the prison ignored his concerns about a high heart rate, and that his car was not returned to him until long after, the SPF said.
“See’s statements give a misleading impression, as he did not specify the full facts,” the SPF said in a press release.
Police return arrest
See was arrested for driving under the influence after failing a breathalyzer test at a police checkpoint along Boon Keng Road at around 3.40am on February 14 last year, police said.
He was transferred to the detention facility at the Police Cantonal Complex around 4 a.m. There, he was treated for detention pending another breathalyzer test with a Breath Evidence Analyzer (BEA), the SPF said.
In prison, nursing officers came to See on two occasions and rated him fit for detention, the SPF said.
“At about 4.40 a.m., after a few attempts to provide a BEA test sample, see BEA test taken in prison passed with a recorded result of 31 micrograms of alcohol per 100 ml of breath,” the police said.
This result was just below the legal limit of 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml breath.
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Taken to booking
As See’s legal arrest – after he failed his initial spiroanalysis test – has been processed according to the rules for people who have been arrested and placed in police custody, according to the SPF.
Other procedures include a medical examination and assessment of C’s status to determine if he is fit for detention.
While in custody, he was brought to wait in a temporary holding area between his BEA test attempts. The SPF said he was moved to another temporary holding area after the BEA test was completed, pending his release processing.
However, Sy refused to enter the second holding area, telling officers that he felt claustrophobic and “would hurt himself if he was placed in the temporary holding area again,” according to the SPF.
The SPF said he insisted on waiting along a common driveway instead. Since this would affect the movement of people, the officers made it clear to See that he could not wait there but refused to move, the SPF said.
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Movement in a padded cell خلية
Seey continued to ignore officers’ repeated instructions to move to the temporary holding area and warned officers he could do himself harm, the SPF said.
The police said that due to the threat of self-harm and “for his own safety,” officers decided to transfer Si to a padded cell using a wheelchair.
“See heavy resistance entering the stuffed cell and having fights with the officers. Despite repeated advice by the officers, C refused to comply with the officers’ instructions. So the officers had to use the force necessary to physically move him into the padded cell.”
In C’s account of this in a video interview, he claimed that six or seven officers had “fixed” him and were “using their power” against him. He claimed that someone used an elbow on his neck, which made him unable to breathe. He also alleged that officers kicked him and used “unnecessary force”.
No toilet, no food, no phone call مكالمة
In response to Sy’s claim that his request to use the toilet was ignored, police said that at around 6 a.m., he asked to see use the toilet. Because of his earlier struggles, arrangements were made for more officers to accompany him.
However, when they got to his cell, they saw he was asleep and didn’t wake him, according to SPF. Police added that before that, C had been allowed to use the toilet twice.
As for See’s claim that he was not given food, the SPF said that when breakfast was served at around 6.25 a.m., See was found to be asleep. So he was not served breakfast.
“In our review, we found no records of See’s request to make any phone calls,” said the SPF, referring to See’s claim that he was not allowed to contact family members.
The SPF added that requests for calls to third parties made by people in police custody are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Police said: “CCTV footage showed there were no signs of seeing limp or feeling uncomfortable when he eventually left the padded cell. He was able to walk normally and was accompanied by officers.”
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Sy was released unconditionally from police custody around 7.40 a.m., about four hours after his arrest. He was told to take his car later in the evening due to safety considerations.
“Police do not usually return vehicles to persons arrested for driving under the influence immediately after their release because they may still retain alcohol in their bodies, which could affect their abilities and put them at risk to themselves and other road users if they are allowed to start the vehicle too soon. ‘, said the SPF.
He will collect his car later on the night of February 14, 2020.
The SPF also admitted that shortly after his release See filed a complaint and wrote to provide his feedback about his experience in custody. After this complaint, the police asked him for a medical examination.
“The medical form that Sy provided indicates that he sustained some minor injuries, including scrapes to his right knee, and a 2cm tear in his right knee.
These injuries seemed consistent with the suffering he suffered when the officers tried to put him inside a padded cell.”
The organization added that it had conducted internal investigations, including reviewing closed-circuit television recordings of C.
“We did not find any abuse or irregularities,” the police said.
These results were reported to See in June of last year. A year later on June 2, See wrote again to SPF to inquire about the case.
“The police attempted to contact him on two separate occasions and offered to arrange another interview to hear his concerns. But he refused to be interviewed,” the SPF said.