Suspect in Bedok murders won't be sent back to S'pore

Khasanah (above) was detained on Tuesday in the town of Tungkal Ilir in West Tanjung Jabung regency in Indonesia's Jambi province, after local police raided her room (left) at Hotel Nanber following a tip-off from residents. The maid was seen browsin
Khasanah was detained on Tuesday in the town of Tungkal Ilir in West Tanjung Jabung regency in Indonesia's Jambi province, after local police raided her room (above) at Hotel Nanber following a tip-off from residents. The maid was seen browsing online news about the Bedok murders at an Internet cafe near the hotel.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Khasanah (above) was detained on Tuesday in the town of Tungkal Ilir in West Tanjung Jabung regency in Indonesia's Jambi province, after local police raided her room (left) at Hotel Nanber following a tip-off from residents. The maid was seen browsin
Khasanah (above) was detained on Tuesday in the town of Tungkal Ilir in West Tanjung Jabung regency in Indonesia's Jambi province, after local police raided her room at Hotel Nanber following a tip-off from residents. The maid was seen browsing online news about the Bedok murders at an Internet cafe near the hotel.

But Indonesian police say investigators will work with S'pore counterparts to solve crime

The maid arrested in connection with the Bedok double murder while she was on the run in Indonesia's Jambi province will not be handed over to Singapore, said the Indonesian national police (Polri).

But its investigators will work with their counterparts from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to solve the crime, said a spokesman.

"The case will be handled by Polri in cooperation with the SPF, but the suspect Khasanah will not be sent to Singapore, due to the principle of personaliteit," Inspector-General Setyo Wasisto said yesterday.

Personaliteit requires that any Indonesian arrested in the country for a crime committed overseas be processed in Indonesia instead of being sent to the jurisdiction where the offence took place, explained the police spokesman.

This means the fate of Khasanah, who is being held by the West Tanjung Jabung regency police in Jambi, now lies in the hands of local investigators, who will decide if there is sufficient evidence to charge her with the Bedok murders. They will also need the green light from Indonesia's state prosecutors before the case can be heard in an Indonesian court.

Singapore police, responding to queries from The Straits Times, said they were aware of Khasanah's arrest. "We are currently working with the Indonesian authorities to facilitate our investigations into the murder case reported in Bedok Reservoir Road on June 21, 2017," an SPF spokesman said yesterday.

Khasanah, who was on the run for almost a week after her employers, Mr Chia Ngim Fong, 79, and his wife Chin Sek Fah, 78, were found tied up and later pronounced dead in their Bedok flat, was arrested on Tuesday night.

The 41-year-old was detained in Tungkal Ilir after local police raided her room at Hotel Nanber following a tip-off from residents. Tungkal Ilir is a small town in West Tanjung Jabung regency, and located more than 300km from Singapore.

Khasanah was spotted using a computer at an Internet cafe near Hotel Nanber to browse online news about the double murder.

A hotel manager told Shin Min Daily News yesterday that Khasanah had paid repeated visits to the Internet cafe during her stay, and had plans to travel to Java.

The presence of the stranger had raised suspicion among some of the locals, who later alerted the police in West Tanjung Jabung.

Jambi police spokesman Kuswahyudi Tresnadi said Khasanah had confessed to the murders during her arrest on Tuesday. It is not clear if she will return to Singapore to face charges for allegedly killing Mr Chia and Madam Chin.

Indonesia and Singapore signed an extradition treaty as part of a package, which included a Defence Cooperation Agreement, in April 2007. But both agreements are still pending ratification by Indonesia's Parliament.

The two countries, however, are party to the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Treaty Amongst Like- minded Asean Member States. Under the MLA, one country can gain access to interrogate suspects detained in the partner country, as well as gather evidence and seize the criminals' assets.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said previously that Singapore has provided assistance to Indonesia on its MLA requests.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2017, with the headline 'Suspect in Bedok murders won't be sent back to S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe