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Police to review procedures on interviewing young persons

SINGAPORE — The police will be reviewing its procedures on whether to allow an appropriate adult to be present when interviewing young persons, following the death of a 14-year-old who died hours after he was interviewed by police officers over an alleged case of outrage of modesty.

Police to review procedures on interviewing young persons

TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The police will be reviewing its procedures on whether to allow an appropriate adult to be present when interviewing young persons, following the death of a 14-year-old who died hours after he was interviewed by police officers over an alleged case of outrage of modesty. 

In a statement tonight (Feb 1), the police, noting the boy’s death was “tragic”, also said they have met with the boy’s family to address their questions over the case, and provide clarifications on the actions of the police officers who spoke to their son.  

The boy, a Secondary Three student, was brought to the police station to assist in investigations into a case of outrage of modesty last Tuesday. Hours after he was released on bail and accompanied home by his mother, he was found dead at the foot of their Housing and Development Board block in Yishun. 

In their statement, the police said: “The police have been asked whether it should review the procedure to allow an appropriate adult to be present when a young person is interviewed. The police will review and address this issue.”

They also said the case was still under investigation, and a Coroner’s Inquiry will be held when investigations concluded, “where all the relevant facts will be presented to the State Coroner”. “At the inquiry, the family will also be able to raise all questions that they may have,” they said, adding they have expressed their condolences to the family. 

They also reiterated that the case was investigated after a police report was lodged. Officers had gone down to the school after reviewing CCTV evidence. “To keep investigations discreet, the officers went in plainclothes and in unmarked cars,” they said. 

The boy was identified after discussions with school officials and viewing of the CCTV records. 

“He was brought to the principal’s office by a school official and was spoken with in the presence of a police officer. Before he was brought back to Ang Mo Kio Division, he contacted his mother to inform her of the police’s investigations. The police officer also spoke to the mother,” the police said.

At the station, the boy was interviewed by an investigation officer at his workstation, which the police said was in an open-plan office with other workstations. 

“He was fully cooperative during the interview. He was then released on bail and went back with his mother,” the police added.

The boy’s parents could not be reached.

POLICE STATEMENT IN FULL:

Police Statement on Death of 14-Year-Old Male Student Under Investigation for Outrage of Modesty

In this case, a Police report was lodged about a molestation. Based on CCTV evidence, Police officers went to conduct enquiries at a school. To keep investigations discreet, the officers went in plainclothes and in unmarked cars. After discussions with the school officials, and the viewing of the CCTV records, Benjamin was identified as the boy in the CCTV records. He was brought to the Principal’s office by a school official and was spoken with in the presence of a Police officer. Before he was brought back to Ang Mo Kio Division, he contacted his mother to inform her of the Police’s investigations. The Police officer also spoke to the mother. 

While at Ang Mo Kio Division, he was interviewed by one Investigation Officer at his workstation in an open plan office with other workstations. He was fully cooperative during the interview. He was then released on bail and went back with his mother.

The Police have been asked whether it should review the procedure to allow an appropriate adult to be present when a young person is interviewed. The Police will review and address this issue.

Police investigations have not been completed. A Coroner’s Inquiry will be held upon the conclusion of investigations, where all the relevant facts will be presented to the State Coroner. At the inquiry, the family will also be able to raise all questions that they may have.

Benjamin’s passing was tragic. The Police have expressed their deepest condolences to the family. They have met the family to address their questions on the case and provide clarifications on the actions of the Police officers during their interaction with Benjamin.   

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