betty June 30, 2021

SINGAPORE- The police have refuted allegations by a man that he was assaulted by police officers during his detention for drink driving on Feb 14 last year.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the police said on Tuesday (June 29) that following internal investigations including a review of closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the process, they “did not find any abuse or wrongdoing”.

Mr See Kian Beng, who was released after a subsequent test showed that he was within the legal drink-driving limit, claimed in a video uploaded onto The Online Citizen Asia’s Facebook page on Monday that the police had used excessive force on him, assigned him to a padded cell alone even though he said he had claustrophobia, and ignored his request to use the toilet, resulting in him urinating inside his cell.

He said he was detained for longer than necessary, given no food and had his request to call his family members denied. He also alleged that the medical personnel at the lock-up ignored his concerns about his high heart rate and that his car was returned to him only many hours later.

In response to queries, the police said: “(Mr) See’s statements give a misleading impression, because he has not set out the full facts.”

In a detailed account of what transpired that night, the police said Mr See was arrested for drink driving after he failed a breath analyser test conducted at a roadblock in Boon Keng Road at about 3.40am.

He was taken to the lock-up facility at Police Cantonment Complex at about 4am and processed for detention pending a further breath test.

The police said Mr See was attended to at the lock-up by nursing officers on two occasions and assessed to be fit for detention.

At about 4.40am, after a few attempts to provide a breath test sample, he passed with a result of 31 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

As Mr See had been legally arrested for failing his initial breath analyser test, he was processed in line with the rules for arrested people and taken into police custody, said the police. This included searching him, verifying his identity, conducting a medical examination and assessment of his condition to determine whether he was fit for detention, and registering his property, among other things.

The investigation officer had to check whether he had other pending traffic or police cases, owned the car he drove, and had a valid driving licence and vehicle insurance.

But Mr See refused to enter the temporary holding area to wait for his release, instead telling officers he was claustrophobic, the police said.

“(Mr) See continued to disregard officers’ repeated instructions to move into the temporary holding area and warned officers that he might cause harm to himself,” said the police.

In view of his threats to hurt himself, the officers decided to transfer him to a padded cell instead. They did so using a wheelchair.

But Mr See put up a struggle and the officers had to apply “necessary force” to physically move him to the padded cell, said the police.

They added that at about 6am, he asked to use the toilet, but when they got to the cell, he was asleep. He had used the toilet earlier at 4.30am and 4.55am.

At 6.25am when breakfast was being served, he was still asleep. Because of this, breakfast was not served to him.

The police said they did not find any record of him requesting to make a phone call.

“CCTV footage showed that there were no signs of (Mr) See limping or exhibiting discomfort when he eventually left the padded cell. He was able to walk normally and was escorted by officers,” said the police.

He was released at 7.40am, four hours after his arrest, and told to collect his vehicle in the evening for safety considerations.

The police said they do not typically release vehicles back to those arrested for drink driving straight after their release from custody as they may still have alcohol in their bodies.

Soon after his release, Mr See lodged a complaint and the police asked him to get a medical assessment about his complaint.

The medical form showed that he had sustained minor injuries, including abrasions and a 2cm laceration on his right knee, which appeared to be consistent with the struggles he had put up when officers tried to put him in the padded cell.

The police said they told Mr See the findings of their internal investigations in June last year. But he wrote in a year later to inquire about the case.

The police then tried to contact him twice and offered to arrange a further interview with him, but he declined to be interviewed, they said.