Man who gloated over cop's death charged with shoplifting

PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ K SHANMUGAM

A man who attracted intense scrutiny last week is back in the news.

Thomas Chua Poh Heng had allegedly uploaded a Facebook post gloating over the death of Traffic Police officer Nadzrie Matin, who was killed in an accident while on patrol last Thursday.

In response, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam did not mince his words in a Facebook post on Saturday, stating that people like Chua are "sick in the head", with "no decency or any sense of right and wrong". Netizens also slammed him.

In an unrelated development, Chua, 38, was charged yesterday in court with one count of shoplifting. The part-time deliveryman allegedly stole a 100ml bottle of Must de Cartier perfume worth $98 at Mustafa Centre in Little India at around 5.40am on Sunday.

Chua, who was unrepresented, will be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for a psychiatric assessment. He will be back in court on June 19.

In a statement yesterday, police said officers arrested Chua after Mustafa Centre's in-house security caught him with an unpaid item outside the department store.

POLICE RESPONSE

The remarks made on the late (Staff Sgt Nadzrie) were hurtful and unfair towards the police. They not only hurt the police officers, but also the late (officer's) family, friends and loved ones. The police will remain professional and objective in conducting our criminal investigations into (Chua's) offences.

POLICE STATEMENT

 

Police also said Chua was under investigation for other cases. Three other police reports have been lodged against him since January, and investigations into those cases are ongoing. The police did not reveal any details about them.

Staff Sergeant Nadzrie, 29, was on patrol last week when he was involved in an accident with a van along Serangoon Road.

The 52-year-old van driver has been arrested for a negligent act causing death.

Chua allegedly claimed he had once received a speeding ticket from Staff Sgt Nadzrie.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the police said Chua had a list of traffic violations but none of them was issued or dealt with by Staff Sgt Nadzrie.

The police added: "The remarks made on the late (Staff Sgt Nadzrie) were hurtful and unfair towards the police. They not only hurt the police officers, but also the late (officer's) family, friends and loved ones.

"The police will remain professional and objective in conducting our criminal investigations into (Chua's) offences."

Chua's Facebook page, which has since been deactivated, also hosted a video of the fallen policeman.

In a strongly worded Facebook post on Saturday, Mr Shanmugam had said Chua's comments "are an insult to all police officers, and deeply offensive to Nadzrie's family".

He added: "You wonder what human decency people like Thomas have - to be so self-centred, smug and making nasty remarks about an officer who died doing his duty. While there is a completely distraught wife, grieving parents and family, and teammates who are crying."

Staff Sgt Nadzrie was accorded a ceremonial police burial at the Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery last Friday, where more than a thousand people paid their final respects.

If convicted of shoplifting, Chua could be jailed for up to seven years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2017, with the headline 'Man who gloated over cop's death charged with shoplifting'. Print Edition | Subscribe