Police clarify claims by man after questions raised about his transfer to Malaysian authorities

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Police Force on Friday (Jan 17) said a man's transfer to the Royal Malaysia Police in 2015 was done lawfully, after claims by him and online reports raised questions about whether the transfer was carried out with due process.

They said that the transfer of 50-year-old Singaporean Mohan Rajangam to Malaysian police "was done in accordance with the legal framework in our legislation".

On Jan 10 this year, a petition for criminal revision was filed in court by lawyer M. Ravi on behalf of Mr Mohan. It called on the court to "examine the records" of Mr Mohan's transfer to Malaysia and "to satisfy itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety... and as to the regularity" of his transfer.

The Singapore Police Force said on Friday that Mr Mohan was transferred to the Royal Malaysia Police on March 23, 2015, on suspicion of his involvement in drug- and gang-related offences after three members of a gang involved in a March 21 shootout with Malaysian police were arrested in a Johor Baru unit rented by Mr Mohan.

Addressing claims online that he was then transferred without proper proceedings, the police said that Mr Mohan was transferred on March 23, 2015, only after Malaysia police provided the Singapore police with a warrant of arrest issued by a Malaysian court.

This was for an offence of murder as the Malaysian police had then traced gang activities to a murder on March 2 that year in Georgetown, Penang, and was investigating Mr Mohan for his possible involvement.

The Magistrate in Singapore endorsed the warrant and the police here carried out the transfer on the same day.

Contrary to Mr Mohan's allegations that his family was unaware of his whereabouts throughout the process, the police said his wife, mother and sister were all present during a search of his residence on March 21, 2015.

The Singapore police also contacted Mr Mohan's brother later on March 23, on the day he was transferred to Malaysian police. His brother was given the contact details of the Malaysian investigation officer, the police said.

Replying to queries from The Straits Times, Mr Mohan said he will meet with his lawyer, Mr Ravi, on Monday to discuss his next moves. He also disputed that the police contacted his brother about his transfer, and said his brother had migrated to New Zealand about 20 years ago.

A document from the Malaysian police ST has seen said Mr Mohan was released after four months without any charges "because no evidence (was found) to associate the accused (with) the case". It added: "There (was) no prosecution against the accused thus no charge sheet can be provided."

Mr Mohan told ST: "Being friends with criminals doesn't make me one. My welfare was not checked on by the Singapore authorities in the four months that I was there."

Explaining why they were providing details of a case that happened nearly five years ago, the Singapore police said they decided it was "necessary in the public interest" as there are "widespread, erroneous assumptions on what happened in this case".

Several media outlets, including ST, had also sent in separate queries relating to Mr Mohan's transfer.

The Singapore police said that since January 2015, the Malaysian police have been sharing information with them regarding members of a Malaysian organised crime gang.

Investigations showed that Mr Mohan was in regular contact with gang members, and his activities continued to be monitored by the police in both countries.

A shootout on March 21, 2015, between the gang and Malaysia police - which resulted in the death of two gang members - led to further action when the Malaysia police arrested three gang members at a flat rented by Mr Mohan.

"The Royal Malaysia Police sought the assistance of the Singapore Police Force to trace and arrest Mr Mohan on an urgent basis as (he) was believed to be involved in the gang's drug activities and harbouring members of this gang," the police said.

When the Singapore police arrested Mr Mohan, he was informed of the suspected offences against him. His residence in Singapore was then searched "in accordance with the investigative powers for an arrestable offence ".

Mr Mohan was then taken to Singapore's State Courts within 48 hours of his arrest, as prescribed by the law, where his warrant of arrest for alleged murder was read to him. He was then transferred to Malaysia.

Following investigations, the Malaysia police decided to take no further action and released him on July 15, 2015.

The police in Singapore declined to comment on whether Mr Mohan was given access to a lawyer during his detention here, which is required by law.

The Singapore Police Force said the "longstanding reciprocal arrangement" between Singapore and Malaysia to mutually recognise and execute warrants of arrests has helped the Singapore police nab many criminals who had fled to Malaysia.

Between 2016 and 2019, the Singapore Police Force made requests to the Malaysia police to help with the arrest of 55 fugitives involved in serious crimes like murder and commercial crimes leading to financial losses of more than $120 million.

The Royal Malaysia Police met all of these requests, the Singapore police said.

These include the arrest in 2004 of Took Leng How, who fled to Malaysia during an investigation here into the murder of eight-year-old Huang Na.

In return, Singapore helped Malaysia police with more than 25 fugitives in the same period.