SINGAPORE - The Security Association Singapore (SAS) has condemned a "sickening incident of abuse" in which a security officer was allegedly assaulted by a man on Monday evening (July 4).
In a statement on Tuesday, the SAS said the alleged assailant did not have a mask on when he tried to enter Giant Hypermarket at Tampines Retail Park at around 10.20pm on Monday.
Security officer (SO) Sures Perumal, who was on duty at the main entrance of the building, told the man to put on a mask, or buy one from the Guardian Pharmacy near the entrance if he did not have one with him.
The man appeared to become unhappy and shouted vulgarities at SO Sures before entering the building.
SO Sures continued carrying out his duties after this initial encounter.
But after a short while, the man suddenly rushed out of the building and pushed SO Sures while shouting vulgarities at him.
He then started shoving and punching SO Sures, who did not retaliate.
It was only after staff from Giant Hypermarket and members of the public intervened that the man stopped his assault.
A four-minute video of the incident, which was captured by security camera, showed members of the public keeping the assailant away from SO Sures, who has since made a police report.
A police spokesman said a 57-year-old man has been apprehended under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act.
He will also be investigated for the offence of voluntarily causing hurt to a security officer.
The authorities are investigating.
The spokesman added that the police take a stern view towards abusive behaviour against security officers carrying out their duties.
The SAS said SO Sures, who is employed by security agency TwinRock, suffered bruises and contusions from the attack.
"SAS strongly condemns this unnecessarily senseless and violent act of abuse against SO Sures, who was merely carrying out his duties," it said.
Mr Terence Stahlmann, the managing director of TwinRock, said SO Sures is a responsible officer who has worked with the agency for more than six years.
"He is soft spoken and diligent," he said. "I cannot imagine why anyone would confront him and assault him in this way."
Mr Raj Joshua Thomas, president of the SAS and a Nominated Member of Parliament, had stronger words.
"This is yet another sickening incident of abuse against a security officer who was merely carrying out his duties," he said.
"Security officers play an integral role in ensuring our safety and security... we must have zero tolerance for any abuse of our officers."
Mr Thomas added that everyone has a responsibility to support and cooperate with security officers.
He said: "While shocking, I am also heartened that a Giant staff member and members of the public stepped in to defend the officer. SAS thanks them for their civic mindedness and responsibility."
The Union of Security Employees (USE) also condemned the assault, calling it a “shocking and despicable attack”.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Desmond Tan, who is the deputy secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, posted about the incident on Facebook on Tuesday evening.
He said that representatives from USE had visited SO Sures, who has some facial injury but is “doing ok”.
The SAS said the incident on Monday happened in the same month as Security Officers Day, which falls on July 24.
It said that in light of this incident and other similar ones, a new Medal for Professionalism will be awarded at the inaugural Security Officers Day Awards, recognising officers who have continued to maintain professionalism and carry out their duties in difficult situations.
"SAS and TwinRock will continue to render assistance to SO Sures," it added.
"SAS will also continue working with our tripartite partners to fight against abuse of security officers and to raise awareness of the severe penalties for such offences."
New penalties for abuse against security officers came into effect in May, enhancing penalties for offences by persons who harass, assault or hurt security officers.
Under the new penalties, those who voluntarily cause hurt to a security officer may be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $10,000.
Security officers are encouraged to report incidents of abuse via the USE mobile application or call the police.