Cybercrime threat a big challenge for Singapore: President Tony Tan

CID Technology Crime Forensic Branch head Lim Tuan Liang (left) showing the mobile forensic tool to President Tony Tan Keng Yam, on April 27, 2016.
CID Technology Crime Forensic Branch head Lim Tuan Liang (left) showing the mobile forensic tool to President Tony Tan Keng Yam, on April 27, 2016.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - The rising trend of cybercrime has brought about an "enormously big challenge" for law enforcement agencies in Singapore and around the world, due to the borderless nature of the Internet, said President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Wednesday (April 27).

Perpetrators are able to work from locations outside the country to target Singaporeans, which would make it harder to bring them to justice, added Dr Tan, who spoke to reporters the sidelines of his inaugural visit to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

His comments echoed points raised in Parliament early this month during the debate on the Ministry of Home Affairs' budget, where Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee flagged a "clear uptrend" in cybercrime.

Mr Lee had highlighted how the total number of online cheating cases involving e-commerce, credit-for-sex, and Internet love scams had almost doubled from 2014 to 2015.

Said Dr Tan: "Singapore has done well. We compare favourably with other cities in the world in containing crime, but it does not mean we do not have challenges."

He also stressed that the threat of terrorism remains an ongoing concern for the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

The aim of Dr Tan's visit to the CID at Police Cantonment Complex was to better understand the SPF's crime-solving and forensic capabilities.

He first toured the Forensics Division Training Lab on the 19th floor, where he learnt how ultraviolet light could be used to search for evidence at a crime scene.

He later went to the Technology Crime Forensics Lab on the 15th floor to view equipment used to fight technology crime.

Dr Tan, who was accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin and Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck during his visit, also stressed the need for the community to lend a hand in ensuring domestic security.

He said: "We have to be vigilant. Everyone has a part to play to keep Singapore safe by being observant. It's not an effort that can entirely be done by the SPF."

He thanked officers from various branches in CID for their contributions and added: "Despite the uncertain regional and international security environment, I am confident that with the good work of the SPF, Singapore will remain one of the safest countries in the world.

"We must continue to work at it on a day-to-day basis."