Sunday, April 3, 2011
Maid for Our Army: Manhunt now on for individuals in the SAF Maid story
Plain clothes officers believed to be from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) combed a housing estate in Bedok on Saturday (2 April'11) for the individuals in the infamous picture of a maid carrying a fullpack - but failed to find their targets.
The officers gathered along Bedok Rise, which is near the Tanah Merah MRT station, for a quick debrief yesterday evening and were observed by this blogger. The group stood out in the quiet estate because I have seen police surveillance teams in action and somehow sensed the group did not fit in with the streetscape.
One officer was overheard updating an unnamed party via mobilephone that there were x targets for the day and the maid at one premises was not in.
What gave the game away was an A4 size colour photocopy of two pictures in a local newspaper story that compared the real picture with a fake image of the anonymous soldier, believed to be a full-time National Serviceman (NSF), and a woman whom netizens believe is his domestic helper. Pictures in the 90C story were enlarged and printed in portrait format, possibly to serve as a handy reference for the officers. (By uncanny coincidence, I used the same picture as reference but saved an image of the newspaper article on my mobilephone. I felt it was more discrete as observers would think I was checking my SMS messages whenever I looked at the image on the phone.)
It was surreal being at the spot where the infamous images were taken and the sense of frustration stemmed from not knowing where the soldier was. A sense of being almost within reach, yet not quite there. That said, I thank friends of this blog for all the tipoffs. :-)
The pictures caused intense debate in Singapore this past week as they showed how one soldier can sully the SAF's image by displaying behaviour which Singaporeans viewed as unsoldierly.
As of late Saturday evening, Senang Diri believes the Singaporean Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and SAF investigators had yet to verify the identities of the two individuals in the picture. The numberplates of the private cars used by the suspected stakeout teams were noted by this blogger.
It is interesting to note that the location of the stakeout is literally round the corner from the home of another infamous NSF, Dave Teo, who ran away from camp with his SAR-21 assault rifle and some bullets in 2007. The Bedok South point block flat which he shared with his grandmother and cousins can be seen from the footpath along which MINDEF/SAF's latest bugbear was photographed. Dave Teo was tracked down and arrested by police officers from the crack Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) unit.
Manhunts in densely-populated Singapore are difficult to execute.
In March 2004, hundreds of SAF soldiers and Singapore Police Force officers were deployed to Pulau Tekong (Singapore's largest offshore island) to hunt down three suspected robbers who landed on the island from Malaysia's Johor state. The fugitives were eventually found by Gurkha police officers.
In February 2008, terror suspect Mas Selamat Kastari walked out of a high security detention centre. He was apprehended by Malaysian police in Johor in April the following year.
Posted by David Boey at 8:31 PM