No room for vigilantism in Singapore

When netizens wrongly identified a couple as the culprits who bullied an elderly man at a hawker centre in Toa Payoh, the couple was abused on the Internet (Police reports lodged over dispute at hawker centre; April 25).

This incident of vigilantism gone wrong highlights the danger of taking the law into our own hands.

Vigilantes may punish the wrong people and things can spiral out of control.

Vigilantism also undermines the rule of law and the power of our law enforcement authorities.

It may also hinder the work of our law enforcement bodies.

The best course of action is to provide the proper authorities with all the information and let them deal with the matter.

Vigilantes may punish the wrong people and things can spiral out of control. Vigilantism also undermines the rule of law and the power of our law enforcement authorities.

Photos, videos, and text messages which could assist in investigations should all be submitted.

If it is unsafe to call the police, a person can SMS vital information to 71999.

The police can also be alerted to crimes via the i-Witness function within the Singapore Police Force website or the Police@SG mobile app.

Bystanders should take these actions instead of taking the law into their own hands.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'No room for vigilantism in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe