Police will review procedure for questioning young persons

The boy, a secondary school student, lived on the 14th floor of Block 316A Yishun Avenue 9. His body was found at the foot of the block on Jan 26, 2016.
The boy, a secondary school student, lived on the 14th floor of Block 316A Yishun Avenue 9. His body was found at the foot of the block on Jan 26, 2016.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - The police are reviewing their procedures for interviewing young persons after a 14-year-old boy fell to his death last week following questioning by the police.

In a statement on Monday night, it said: "The police have been asked whether it should review the procedure to allow an appropriate adult to be present when a young person is interviewed. The police will review and address this issue."

Concerns have surfaced online following reports that the student was questioned by police at his school without his parents being present or aware of it.

Police said officers went in plainclothes and unmarked cars - "to keep investigations discreet" - to the boy's school after a report of molest was lodged on Jan 25.

Naming him for the first time in their statements, police said after discussions with school officials, "Benjamin" was identified through closed circuit television records. "He was brought to the principal's office by a school official and was spoken with in the presence of a police officer," it said.

Before he was taken to the Ang Mo Kio division for more interviews, he called his mother to let her know what was going on.

The police said an officer also spoke to his mother. At the division, Benjamin was interviewed by an investigation officer at his workstation in an open office.

Benjamin was later released on bail and left the headquarters with his mother, according to the police.

According to media reports, he returned home to the family's 14th-floor flat in Yishun with his mother and sister. His mother said she found the window of her son's room open, hours later, and, fearing the worst, rushed to the ground floor to see him lying at the foot of the block.

The police said: "Benjamin's passing was tragic."

It added that it had met the family to address their questions and provide clarifications on the actions of the police officers during their interaction with Benjamin.