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20 April 2013

Allegations of Police Abuse Against SMRT Strikers Found to be Baseless

20 April 13 – MHA said that investigations have shown that the allegations of police abuse by He Junling and Liu Xiangying, (the two SMRT bus drivers who instigated other SMRT bus drivers to take part in an illegal strike in November 12) were baseless. Neither He nor Liu had raised any allegations or formal complaints of abuse despite having had ample opportunities to do so, and being advised by their lawyers and civil society groups. They did not file any police reports, or raise the matter in court. Instead they first made their allegations through an online video two months after the alleged incidents.  Both He and Liu retracted their allegations in statements to the Police Internal Affairs Office (IAO). He’s statements were contradictory. He retracted his allegations but yet maintained that the allegations were true.

          The Police Internal Affairs Office (IAO)1  has completed its investigation into allegations by He Junling and Liu Xiangying that they were abused by Police investigators in the course of investigations. He and Liu had instigated other SMRT drivers to take part in an illegal strike in November last year. The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has also reviewed the case and concurred with the IAO’s findings that the allegations were baseless.

2         These allegations initially came to light through an online video “I Have Ways to Make You Confess” posted on Ms Lee Seng Lynn’s website “Lianain Films” on 28 January 13, two months after the alleged incidents.  The next day (29 January 13), several civil society groups and individuals released a joint statement calling for an independent inquiry into the allegations.

3         Prior to the video, neither He nor Liu had made any allegations of physical abuse during Police investigations even though they had had many opportunities to do so. They could have raised the issue at any time while they were in Police lock-up, when they were charged in court on 29 November 12 or after they were released on bail on 6 December 12. He was examined by a doctor on 4 December 12 for gastric pain, less than a week after the alleged incidents, but did not tell the doctor of the alleged abuse. Neither He nor Liu nor their lawyers raised the allegations in court on 19 December 12. Police also did not receive any complaints from the Chinese Embassy in relation to the strikers.  

4         Even after the video was released, neither He nor Liu nor their lawyers reported the allegations to the authorities. Their lawyers would have known that the proper procedure was for them to raise the matter in court, or to file a formal complaint with the Police. But when the IAO contacted the strikers on 2 February 13, both He and Liu declined to provide statements. The AGC wrote to the lawyers for He and Liu on 4 February 13, informing them of the investigations and that their clients may be requested to assist by providing statements to the Police. Rather than assisting, Mr Remy Choo Zheng Xi, acting for He, wrote to the Prosecution to request that the Police refrain from commencing investigations into the allegations.

5         Subsequently, He and Liu agreed to be interviewed by the IAO on 7 February 13, in the presence of their lawyers and a Chinese embassy representative, only to fail to turn up for the interview as agreed.

6         After making further repeated attempts to contact He and Liu, IAO finally recorded statements from them on 15 February 13, in the presence of their lawyers. Their statements gave details of the alleged abuses, but were found by IAO to be inconsistent.  Subsequently, in further statements recorded on 27 February 13 and 20 March 13, both He and Liu retracted their allegations of abuse.  He’s statements were contradictory: He retracted his allegations but yet maintained that the allegations were true.

7         During its investigations, the IAO had interviewed all persons and witnesses believed to be implicated or have knowledge of the allegations of abuse, numbering 10 persons. The IAO had also examined all available evidence relating to the case. After a thorough investigation, the IAO concluded that the allegations were baseless. The AGC agreed with this assessment.

8         Following the IAO’s findings, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Mr Teo Chee Hean said:

          "We take allegations of Police abuse very seriously, especially when they are formally lodged, and investigate them thoroughly. Where there is wrong doing, the officers will be dealt with. This is essential to maintain professionalism, public trust and confidence in the Police.

          However, we should also all stand up for our officers when individuals or groups who break our laws or condone illegal actions, make baseless, false allegations against them.

          Our officers carry out their duties to keep us safe and secure, often in difficult and trying circumstances. The investigations have vindicated the officers in this case and protected their reputations. ”

Issued by
The Ministry of Home Affairs

1   Reporting directly to the Police Commissioner, the IAO is an independent body set up to conduct investigation into serious disciplinary and criminal cases committed by members of the Singapore Police Force.

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