2 police investigation officers allegedly forged dozens of statements in separate cases
- Two officers from the Singapore Police Force were charged with forgery in separate cases
- Kenny Cheong Chyuan Lin, 38, allegedly forged witness statements for eight coroner's inquiries
- Willjude Vimalraj Raymond Suras, 31, purportedly forged 38 documents, including an affidavit when he was applying for admission to the Singapore Bar
- Willjude resigned in 2019 while investigations were ongoing and is now working in a law firm
SINGAPORE — A station inspector, who allegedly forged witness statements for eight coroner's inquiry cases that had to be reopened, was charged on Tuesday (June 21) with dozens of forgery offences.
In a separate case, a former police officer who is now a lawyer was also charged with multiple counts of forgery.
In the first case, Kenny Cheong Chyuan Lih, 38, an investigation officer with the Singapore Police Force, has been suspended from duty since December 2018. He was charged with 39 counts of forgery and one count of forging a record that was made to look like it was prepared by a prosecutor.
In the second case, former police investigation officer Willjude Vimalraj Raymond Suras, 31, faces 38 counts of forgery and one of giving false evidence in relation to his admission to the Singapore Bar.
He is now an associate at law firm Advance Law, after being called to the Bar last year, his online profile showed.
The Singapore Police Force and the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said in a joint reply to media queries that both cases came to light following internal investigations by the police.
The two agencies reviewed all the cases that both officers had investigated after discovering discrepancies in some of their documents.
Willjude resigned from the police force in April 2019 before investigations against him were completed.
Both men will return to court on Aug 2 and remain out on a bail of S$15,000 each.
Cheong’s actions first surfaced publicly in October last year when Coroner Marvin Bay released his findings into some of the eight cases of coroner’s inquiry that had to be reopened as a result of his alleged offences.
Coroner Bay had presided over the original inquiries that were held between 2016 and 2018. These were in relation to fatal traffic accidents that occurred from 2015 to 2017.
In April this year, the coroner concluded that Cheong’s purported acts of forgery had no impact on his original findings in all eight cases and there was no miscarriage of justice.
The police’s Internal Affairs Office found that Cheong had allegedly fabricated multiple statements given by witnesses, passengers and next-of-kin of the deceased persons.
Court documents showed that Cheong allegedly did this while at the Traffic Police Headquarters in Ubi and he signed the statements in their names.
He is also accused of forging official correspondence between AGC and the police between April and September 2017. The correspondence directed the police to charge a man identified as Kasmani Ahmat for offences under the Penal Code and Road Traffic Act.
Cheong is said to have forged this correspondence under the name of an assistant public prosecutor at AGC.
In total, for his alleged offences, there were 40 forged documents across 15 investigation papers on concluded criminal cases, the concluded coroner's inquiries, and criminal cases that did not lead to prosecution.
Court documents showed that in December 2020, Willjude supposedly made a false statement in his affidavit for admission to the Singapore Bar. He claimed that he was not the subject of any investigation or proceedings for criminal offences.
As for his forgery charges, he is accused of forging 38 statements purportedly recorded or signed by others at Woodlands Police Division from November 2018 to January 2019.
In their joint reply, AGC and the police said that his alleged forgeries were tied to documents across 21 investigation papers. Like Cheong's case, these were similarly for concluded criminal proceedings, concluded coroner's matters, and criminal cases that did not result in prosecutions.
The coroner's matters that he dealt with had not led to inquiries. AGC said that the decisions not to convene coroner's inquiries were "correctly made and were not affected by the forgeries".
As for the concluded criminal proceedings handled by both officers, AGC said that it reassessed other evidence such as in-car camera footage. It determined that there was enough evidence to support all the criminal convictions, and all parties have been notified.
As for the criminal cases that did not lead to prosecution, AGC found that the outcomes in all but one case were supported by other available evidence.
In that one case, AGC reversed its decision not to take further action against an individual because the objective evidence did not support it. AGC then directed the police to give the person a stern warning.
No other details were given about the case.
“To ensure that the investigation process is fair and robust, the Singapore Police Force has a system of regular audits of cases, and supervisors are duly alerted when any lapses are detected.Singapore Police Force, in a joint statement with the Attorney-General's Chambers”
The police said in the joint reply that they take "a firm stance against officers who are found to have been involved in any wrongdoing", and will take them to task accordingly.
"To ensure that the investigation process is fair and robust, the Singapore Police Force has a system of regular audits of cases, and supervisors are duly alerted when any lapses are detected.
"Internal investigations are swiftly conducted, and documents relating to all the cases that the errant officers were investigating will be reviewed," the police added.
AGC said that it "takes a serious view of offences committed by law enforcement officers and legal professionals, and will take the necessary action against them to protect the integrity of our criminal justice system".
Anyone found guilty of forgery can be jailed for up to four years or fined, or punished with both.
If convicted of forging a record purporting to be made by a public servant in their official capacity, Cheong could be jailed up to 10 years and fined.
If convicted of giving false evidence in a judicial proceeding, Willjude could be jailed for up to seven years and fined.