Saturday, April 27, 2013
Singapore police manhunt nabs suspect three days after war memorial is vandalised
The phrase "this is no drill" could aptly describe the manhunt for the person(s) who defaced the Cenotaph war memorial in the heart of Singapore city with red spray paint.
After just three days, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) paid a visit to the suspected vandal, a 32-year-old man. The look on his smug face when that knock on the door came would be a work of art. There he is in the picture (above) released by the SPF.
The SPF said today that officers from Central Police Division nabbed the suspect at about 11:30am this morning.
"Extensive investigations and round the clock enquiries were conducted," an SPF spokesman told The Straits Times. "Among the exhibits seized are a long-sleeved T-shirt, a pair of denim jeans, a pair of shoes, a 'tote' bag, and a pair of headphones for investigation."
An eyewitness reported seeing a man spray paint the word "democracy" onto the war memorial to World War I dead on Tuesday evening.
The man fled when confronted by the the eyewitness.
Launched in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, it was inevitable that the manhunt by the Singapore police would come under close scrutiny by Singaporeans.
That Singapore's law enforcers have successfully delivered a suspect within three days indicates that security protocols for tracking a person of interest works - and works reassuringly well indeed.
Police may not always get who they want to find all the time. And some cases may take awhile longer to crack while the trail may run cold for complex cases.
But every crime scene investigation challenges crime busters to see if their training, their investigative tools and protocols and their police instincts will pay dividends.
It did for the Cenotaph case. If one views this case as a dress rehearsal for a manhunt after a terrorist incident, it is probable that the same SOPs would be adopted to track down and apprehend the person(s) of interest.
The SPF is unlikely to say how it found the man but it is no secret that Singapore's city centre has a dense network of surveillance cameras keeping an eye on the place.
Running from the scene of crime would have been futile as investigators would only have to draw range rings around the Cenotaph to zoom in on cameras that would have captured the person's escape route.
It would have entailed painstaking police work putting together a jigsaw puzzle from footage captured hither and thither. But the police did it and this blog is not alone in cheering the result of all their hardwork and long nights.
After all the publicity linked to the "sticker lady" incident, one would have thought would-be vandals wouldn't be so stupid to test the system again, so soon. Well, someone did.
It is now over to the Singapore justice system.
Well done SPF.
Posted by David Boey at 11:13 PM