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Monday January 14th 2019

Unsafe Singapore: Chronology of Selected Serious Crimes Involving Foreigners

Unsafe Singapore: Chronology of Selected Serious Crimes Involving Foreigners

Written by: Gilbert Goh

As I read through the recent Kallang and Selegie crimes that involved  foreigner workers, I wondered if Singapore is as safe as it was before.

This also reiterated the common fear among many that merely mass importing foreign workers into our country for the sake of economics  will backfire in the long run.

As I prepared for this article, I also read of how one 65-year-old golfer businessman Heng Jui How mysteriously drowned  last week in the 4m deep pond near  the 18-hole Sentosa Golf Club.

Was foul play involved here? No one actually knows for sure and police is still investigating but it caps off a frightening  month whereby serious crimes dominated the headlines for the past few  days.

What has become of our squeaky clean safe environment which we all take pride in?

I remembered many years ago I used to go out in the middle of the night to have a quick meal at the 24-hour kopitiam downstairs when I was feeling hungry. I never felt that my safety would be compromised or that I need to be careful of my immediate surroundings.

Our young daughter could also go out in the evening without us having to worry for her personal safety.  Unfortunately, the same could not be said now  due to the current crime wave.

Just six years ago, we were all shocked  by  the murder of young 8-year-old Chinese national Huang Na (left picture) in  Oct 2004.

Malaysian-born Took Leng How, a vegetable packer at the wholesale centre, was found guilty of murdering her and hanged after an appeal and a request for presidential clemency failed. The Malaysian was supposed to be a close friend whom she played with on numerous occasions.

I was also particularly saddened by the news as Singaporeans read first-hand account of how foreigners tried to re-settle in a foreign land trying their best to rebuild their lives against all odds.

Many single parents from China became peidu mama (accompanying mums) when they work hard to bring their children up in Singapore hoping that they  will have a better life abroad.

Many peidu mamas end up engaging in illicit work such as masseurs or karaoke hostesses to make ends meet.

Many S Pass work permit holders also took  up hefty  loans to move abroad and struggle to pay them back on  high-interest instalment plan. The financial stress is amplified as they struggle  to cope with our high cost of  living here.  

Many simply have no choice but to moonlight illegally to earn an  extra income to supplement their meagre full-time day job.

Overseas students from China also moonlight openly as karaoke hostesses further complicating the underground vice situation here. Many in fact come here primarily to earn a fast buck than seriously wanting to study to better their chances at rebuilding their lives abroad. Some become mistresses of our local men hoping for  a short quick path to prosperity.  Many have more than one sugar daddy.

There are currently more than 50,000 foreign students studying here and they are not allowed to work on  a student’s visa.  Nevertheless, this has not deterred many from working illegally at night engaging in illicit sex activities.

Feeing Safe No More

It is  this safety reason that residents in Serangoon Gardens protested profusely against having  a  hostel meant for foreign workers  in their posh landed estate  in 2008.

The original plan to convert an unused school РSerangoon Gardens Technical School into a foreign workers’ dorm went ahead anyway. The dorm will be able to house 1500 workers in future in a residential population of around 2000 at Serangoon Gardens.

With the influx of foreigners and recent spate of serious crimes, the same sense of safeness could not be felt anymore.

There are constantly  groups of foreign workers milling around our neighbourhood estates whispering quietly in their own languages at their own corner. Sometimes, they may give you a quick glance as you walk past but other than that they usually keep mainly to themselves.

Nevertheless, their overwhelming presence makes one feel uncomfortable.

Feeling safe in one’s environment is mostly psychological and once this  is breached, it is difficult for one to have  the same kind of safe feeling again.

As I researched for this article, I was glad to know that Singaporean still surprisingly has a very low crime rate compared to many other developed countries. According to Overseas Security Advisory  Council (OSAC) ,  a global security news and report portal, the summary of our  crime and safety report remains sanguine:

‚ÄúSingapore, a city-state of 4.8 million people, remains among the safest countries in the world, and while final numbers for 2009 are not available as of this writing, statistics from the first six months of 2009 show an overall decrease in reported crimes of 1.3 percent from the same timeframe in 2008.¬† Specifically, statistics for the first six months of 2009 show a decrease in both violent property crimes (-23.7 percent) and crimes against persons (-4.2 percent), and an increase in theft and related crimes (2.5 percent) and housebreaking and related crimes (17.5 percent).‚ÄĚ

Many credit the low crime rate to the strict laws we have in place in our society. For example, any foreigner who brings in packs of chewing gum can actually be fined and even put in prison for up to a year if left undeclared.  

Our prisons are  packed to the brim as people are being place in jail for all sorts of crimes. Many also wonder if our social graces can be improved as they are done out of fear rather than real behavourial changes.

Capital Punishment = Low Crime

According to the book ‚ÄúThe Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger‚ÄĚ by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett,¬† a survey among 23 rich nations found that Singapore has the second highest prison inmates per 100,000 people. The number one tag goes to to the United States.

 We also carry our capital punishment by execution and this has remained a strong deterrence against drug trafficking and serious crimes.

Singapore has the highest per-capita execution in the world between 1994 and 1999 ‚Äď 13.57 executions per million population.¬† Despite serious lobbying by civil rights groups to abolish capital punishment, the government remains committed to its policy of maintaining capital punishment as a form of deterrance.

One wonders if Singapore will suddenly be plunged into social unrest  if the death penalty is to be one day lifted.

The following table of executions was compiled by Amnesty International from several sources, including statistics supplied by the Ministry for Home Affairs in January 2001 and government figures reported to Agence France-Presse in September 2003.[2] Numbers in brackets are the number of foreign citizens executed, according to information disclosed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. (source: Wikipedia)

Year Murder Drug-related Firearms Total
1991 19 5   26
1992 13 7 1 21
1993 10 2   7
1994 21 54 1 76
1995 20 52 1 73
1996 10 {7} 40 {10}   50
1997 {3} 11 {2} 1 15
1998 4 {1} 24 {5}   28
1999 8 {2} 35 {7}   43
2000 4 {2} 17 {5}   21
2000   23    
2001   22    

 However, in crime-ridden third world countries like Bangladesh and India, people commit crimes regularly and may not adjust readily yet to the way we operate as a society.  They brought into our society  their own customs and world  views and if integration policies are not carry out properly,  we may have societal fragmentation which existed  in migrant-friendly countries such as United States and Australia.

Australia for decades used to  embraced refugee-migrants to its shore until they found that that many are actually hardcore criminals that have fled their country on the run. Moreover, a lack of integration has segregated migrants into different hotspots nuch to the dismay of the authorities.

Migrants have actually set up their own township and mini-Vietnam, Hong Kong, Iraq, China and even Singapore have sprouted up all over Sydney.

However, in Singapore, if committing serious crimes belong  mostly to those carrying unskilled work permits, then their stay will  not be permanent and hopefully when they leave our country after a short work stint, their unhealthy influence will leave with them.

Many of the murder cases also involved illegal sex workers and it may be wise for the police to regularly round them up in sex hotspots at Geylang or Balestier.

Most of the serious crimes so far were committed against other foreigners but  if left unchecked  I am pretty sure that they will spill over to our local citizens.

I have randomly picked  some serious crimes committed by our  foreign workers during the past few years and it made uncomfortable reading:-

1. March 2010

Remains of Filipino Tourist Found Dead in Singapore Repatriated

The remains of Filipino tourist Roselyn Reyes Pascua, 30, who was found dead in a Singapore lodging house, on 15 March 2010, was repatriated on Friday to her hometown in Laguna. Representatives of OWWA assisted Ms. Pascua’s relatives in the release of her remains at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

A prayer session and blessing, officiated by Filipino priest Fr. Angel Luciano, had earlier been held in Singapore, attended by Philippine Embassy Consul General Neal Imperial, Vice-Consul Jed Martin Llona and members of the Filipino community in Singapore.

On 19 March, Indian national Gopinathan Nair Remadevi Bijukumar, 34, was arrested and charged with murder for Ms. Pascua’s death. If convicted, Mr. Bijukumar faces the death penalty.

Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Minda Calaguian Cruz promised to continue monitoring the developments of the case. ‚ÄúThe Philippine Embassy in Singapore shall closely coordinate with the Singapore Police Force in its investigation to ensure that justice is served for the relatives of Ms. Pascua,‚ÄĚ she said.

2. March 2010

 THE naked body of a young Chinese woman was found drowned in a lap pool of a bungalow in an exclusive residential estate in Sentosa Cove on Wednesday morning.

The body of Ms Li Hong Yan, 24, was found by a maid who was cleaning the three-storey house along Ocean Drive at about 8.30am.

Paramedics pronounced her dead at about 9.30am.

Ms Li is believed to have spent the night at the house with its owner, after they met at a party.

While little is known about how she drowned, police said that there was no indication of injuries on her body.

Police have classified the case as an unnatural death.

Ms Li Hong Yan, 24, had come from China and was working two jobs ‚Äď as a part-time karaoke hostess, and as a catering supervisor in an Indian restaurant.

3. Jan 2010

Bangladeshi to hang
By Selina Lum

Kamrul, who worked at the site, was arrested and charged with her murder.– ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A BANGLADESHI construction worker involved in a love triangle with an Indonesian maid was on Friday sentenced to death after he was convicted of murdering her.

Kamrul Abdul Hasan Quddus, 35, looked shocked on hearing the guilty verdict, which came almost a year after his High Court trial in February last year.

The naked body of his on-off girlfriend, Ms Yulia Afriyanti, 25, was found stuffed in a cardboard box in a unit of an uncompleted condominium in Queensway on Dec 16, 2007.

Kamrul, who worked at the site, was arrested and charged with her murder. He told police that she was already dead when he found her at the worksite but was too frightened to tell anyone.

During the trial, it emerged that Ms Yulia was also seeing another man during their on-off relationship.

DNA tests showed Kamrul had sex with her before her death; his fingerprints were also found at the scene. But the defence tried to argue that the evidence was circumstantial and did not prove he killed her.

Kamrul chose not to testify in his defence.

4. April 22, 2009

Cabby’s murder: man charged
By Elena Chong

A CHINA national, charged on Wednesday with a cabby’s murder, had apparently tried to extort $150,000 from the taxi driver’s wife.

Wang Wenfeng, 30, was first produced in court last week together Wang Wufu for attempted extortion of $150,000 from Madam Chan Oi Lin, a housewife, by putting her in fear that harm would befall her husband, Mr Yuen Swee Hong, 58.

The alleged offence took place near Beach Road at about 9am on April 11.

 5. April 2008

Filipino charged with murder in Singapore
For death of compatriot

By Veronica Uy
Agence France-Presse,
First Posted 14:17:00 02/04/2008

SINGAPORE — A Filipino man was charged in Singapore on Monday with the murder of a compatriot, police said, and will face death by hanging if convicted.

Mark Laguerta, 29, appeared in court and was formally charged with the murder of Bernard Alojado, 27, a police spokeswoman said.

6. September 2008

Chinese national charged with murder of woman at Yishun
By Lip Kwok Wai, Channel NewsAsia
Posted: 20 September 2008 1726 hrs

SINGAPORE : A 42-year old Chinese national, Wang ZhiJian, has been charged with the murder of one of the three women killed at Block 349 in Yishun on Friday.

Police believe the crime was committed between 11pm on Thursday and 12.50am on Friday.

If convicted of the murder of Zhang Meng – another 42-year-old Chinese national – Wang will face the death penalty.

Zhang’s body was found with multiple knife wounds.

Two others – a 17-year-old girl, and a woman in her 30s – were also found dead at the Yishun block.

A 14-year-old girl survived the attack, and is in critical condition at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Wang is believed to be on close terms with one of the victims.

He is being detained for further investigations, and will appear in court again next Friday.

7. March 2007

Chinese national charged in murder of Singapore boss

2007-03-13 00:43:39

SINGAPORE, Mar 13 (AP)– A Chinese man has been accused of stabbing his supervisor to death in the kitchen of a crowded Singapore soup restaurant, court documents and local media said Tuesday.

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Reader Feedback

10 Responses to “Unsafe Singapore: Chronology of Selected Serious Crimes Involving Foreigners”

  1. Tracy Tan says:

    Hi Gilbert,

    Thank you for this article. It summarises my feelings and apprehension too.

    I appreciate Singaporeans like you who can see what’s happening in Singapore holistically.

    I wish the pap govt comes down and really get to know the ground feelings and apprehension instead of being so detached from the people.

    I wish the pap is not so short sighted and formulate policies for short term gains at the expense of long term detriment.

    I wish the pap does not only go for economic gains at the expense of safety, social stability, our future generations well being.

    Thank you again for your contribution and perseverance.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Tracy

    Thanks for your comment.

    Like you, I am umcomfortable with too many foreigners in our country.

    Don’t take me wrong – I have foreign church friends for many years and we are still close buddies.

    However, the current intake of too many unskilled foreigners may be a wrong decision taken by the government.

    Lets hope that they will do the sensible thing and slow down the influx of foreigners in the near future.

    • Tracy Tan says:

      Yes, let’s hope that the pap slows the influx of cheap labour and admit foreigners who can add value to better quality and better skilled people

  3. Tracy Tan says:

    Dear Admin,

    Thanks for the effort in disseminating the truth of what’s happening in Singapore.

    I am not against foreigners. What I am against is the unabated influx of cheap foreign labour who are unskilled, unqualified, uncouth, unwilling to assimilate in SG society and also the pap’s negligence in making sure that there are enough amenities such as buses, MRT, hospital beds, etc to cater to the sudden increase in population.

    Dont believe the pap’s lie that we are against foreigners. We certainly welcome foreigners who can help Singapore.

  4. Gilbert Goh says:

    Hi Tracy

    Ya we are not against foreigners here but the sheer number is simply too many too fast.

    Our small size also doesn’t help much here as services and traffic are taxed beyond comprehension.

    It seems that government has not done much preparation and integration programmes seem hurried and unplanned.

    If done properly, emigration can be a good way to supplement our low birth and ageing population.

    If done hastily, emigration can bring forth the current problem of tense competition for jobs denying many local people from being gamefully employed.

  5. Evan Molon says:

    HI! My mommy want to work their in Singapore. She wants to work for my future since I’m her only child and she’s a single parent. After what I read about Singapore I’m scared for her safety. But still she’s 100 percent sure she want to work there. I just hope and pray for her safety.
    Thank you

  6. Charles Allsopp says:

    Thank-you Gilbert for bringing this together. I have been a guest of Singapore for three years, and also my six year-old child has spent most of his life living in SG. As an adult able to have eyes in the back of my head, one area which I am thankful for is that ladies and gentlemen in excess of say seventy years of age are spritely and in abundance. Not only are these old-aged people vigilant and sited everywhere, they are sociable, full of advice, and I am certain a deterrent (along with the law) against opportunist criminals who may be lurking somewhere. From Malay barbers across the island to Chinese uncles having a sit down and a rest in a coffee shop, there is a community feel unavailable in any other CITY of the world, which Singapore ostensibly is. I will qualify this and say that towns in developed countries can and do have situations where everyone knows each other. This “Neighbourhood Watch” principle is invaluable to Police across cultures and nationalities. May it continue; and following the dark depths of the downturn, the SPF I am certain will have advanced again in its evolution.

  7. The argument goes that will Obama wants to reach out to a demographic that wouldn‚Äôt normally vote in midterm elections until the candidates performed screeching, off-key tops of Whitney Houston songs. Wasn‚Äôt it just a week ago that the media had been slamming Obama for ‚Äúdemeaning‚ÄĚ the office on the President of the usa by appearing on the particular Daily Show? I can‚Äôt wait that will hear what the pearl-clutchers inside the media have to say about this latest GOTV effort by the President.

  8. G says:

    An article riddled with fear-mongering and unsubstantiated assertions.

  9. [...] more can be read here:- Unsafe Singapore: Chronology of Selected Serious Crimes Involving Foreigners*|*Support Site for The … [...]

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