Off-duty police officer lauded by neighbour for catching snake says it's his duty to help

Inspector Fariz Mohd Noor was praised by his neighbour Yvonne Wong for helping her catch a snake in her home. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/YVONNE WONG, ST PHOTO LYDIA LAM

SINGAPORE - A police officer who was lauded on Facebook by his neighbour for helping to catch a snake in her house told reporters on Tuesday (Dec 5) that it was part of his duty as an officer to keep everyone safe.

Inspector Fariz Mohd Noor, 39, had helped his neighbour Yvonne Wong to nab a tree snake that had appeared in their Bukit Batok flat.

Ms Wong shared photos of Insp Fariz with the green reptile in his hands to the Singapore Police Force's page on Nov 28.

Speaking to The Straits Times and Shin Min Daily News at the Clementi Police Division where he is an inspector at the investigation branch, Insp Fariz said his neighbours first told him about the snake on Nov 27.

They called the police and were referred to wildlife rescue group Acres. However, the snake later disappeared.

He assured his neighbours that he would help them, and the next day they called him after spotting the snake.

It had gone into a hole in their study table.

"As I was unsure of the species of the snake, I put on a pair of gloves and tried to pull the snake out of the hole," said Insp Fariz. "But the snake went deeper in, so we had to dismantle part of the study table."

The creature, which turned out to be a harmless tree snake, slithered out after a while. Insp Fariz released it at a forested area nearby.

Ms Wong wrote in her Facebook post that she and her family would like to express their "deepest gratitude and compliment towards the courageous and helpful Inspector Fariz", who went beyond his core duty as a law enforcer and helped those around him, while at the same time showing "extraordinary compassion to living creatures".

"He truly demonstrated the 'kampung spirit' in assisting those that are in need of help," wrote Ms Wong.

Insp Fariz, who is married with three kids, said the words of encouragement on Facebook helped motivate him to serve the nation better.

He said it was his first time catching a snake off-duty for a civilian. He had previously received training on how to handle snakes more than 10 years ago.

Asked how it compares with crime fighting, Insp Fariz said he wears many hats, including as a neighbour, police officer and a father.

Helping his neighbour was just part of his duty to keep everyone safe, he said.

Those who spot wildlife such as snakes in their homes are advised to call the Acres Wildlife Rescue Hotline at 9783-7782.

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