Accidental encounters with ISD agents
Posted by temasektimes on August 27, 2012
A long time ago, I wrote about my accidental encounter with several ISD officers outside the blue gate when my friend and I tried to take a photograph of it. Taking a photo of the notorious gate was not an offence. The Straits Times and others had featured the gate when Mas Selamat disappeared and gurkhas, police and everyone involved in the security business combed our little red dot. I know from my expatriate friends that the garden of the little cosy private estate opposite the blue gate was thoroughly searched. All the residents on the ground level were told to shut their doors and windows.
There is little doubt that our security forces are very hard working. They work in teams. When my friend and I were confronted by them outside the blue gate, at least ten officers were involved. I asked them if it was normal that so many officers were involved in such a small matter. One of them confirmed that that was the case. Ten officers surrounding two women. They took away our identity documents, made us wait for more than one hour, downloaded all the photos from my friend’s camera, deleted photos which we took of the gate etc. I felt so stupid after the incident. Why didn’t I shout at them, take photos of them and tell them that they had no business and no right to waste our time in that way!
Let me tell you another story, this time involving the famous Alan Shadrake.
Shadrake as we all know, was charged and convicted for contempt of court. My story involved his search for housing while he was waiting for his case to be heard. He was initially offered accommodation by an expatriate. After some days, he was told that they could no longer help him and he had to look for accommodation elsewhere. I was accidentally informed that he was desperately looking for a place. I didn’t know Shadrake until I went to his book launch. I felt sorry for him because he was arrested at dawn at his hotel the day after the launch. It reminded me of my own arrest. To be suddenly awakened at the unearthly hour and taken to the police station must have been a traumatic experience for anyone.
A friend offered temporary lodging. I picked up Shadrake at Bukit Timah and drove him to my friend’s flat. I parked my car at the multi storey carpark opposite the flat and we made our way to the flat. We entered the lift and pressed the button to the desired floor. When the door opened, a young man busy on his mobile walked into the lift. He spoke in Mandarin and we heard him mention the name “Alan”. I looked at Shadrake and instead of getting out of the lift, we followed the man down to the first floor.
At the ground level, the man walked away and Shadrake and I walked out of the lift too. I told Shadrake that the guy was from the ISD. We both sat down on the bench. I wanted to see who else was involved in following us. Shortly after, a lady in office clothes and high heeled shoes walked past us. I told Shadrake that she too was from the ISD. To confirm that I was right, I waited till the lady went out of the block of flats and I got up and hid behind a pillar to see where she was going. She crossed the road and at the pavement opposite, she turned around and faced the block of flats that she had just left.
We waited a while and then went up to my friend’s flat. While my friend and Shadrake chatted, I thought I would check if the lady was anywhere on the road below. I walked to the balcony and looked out. Immediately, I saw several people scrambling and hiding behind the pillars at the multi-storey carpark opposite. There must have been at least four people doing that. Unluckily for them, my friend’s flat was higher than the carpark building and they could not escape my surveillance! I looked down on the road below and saw the same lady walking towards the carpark.
A team of more than six plain clothes men and women following Shadrake and me from Bukit Timah to my friend’s flat! What a waste of manpower. How inefficient can our police force be. If intimidation and harassment of peaceful citizens and people are all that they are good for, I am really worried and concerned at how they manage the security of our little island. Little wonder that they never found Mas Selamat.
TEO SOH LUNG
*The above was first posted as an article on Facebook.