More than 170 officers, volunteers, members of public recognised for keeping Singapore safe

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam speaking at the Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony, on Aug 2, 2017.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam speaking at the Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony, on Aug 2, 2017.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - It was around 5am on a Sunday morning when Inspector Goh Teck Heng received a call for help  - three people had been stabbed multiple times in a shopping centre in Orchard Road.

He rushed there from home, only to find the floor outside the club where the incident happened splattered with blood.

"When we arrived, the assailants had already fled," said Insp Goh, 46, who is an investigation officer at the Tanglin Police Division. It turned out to be one of the most serious incidents he has dealt with.

Working day and night, it took him and other officers about a week to track down the 10 or so assailants, who were also secret society members. They were later jailed.

Such cases of rioting, and others of outrage of modesty and child abuse, are among those that he handles as part of the police's Violence Against Persons Squad.

On Wednesday (Aug 2), Insp Goh received a Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award (Individual). He was among more than 170 Home Team officers, volunteers and members of public recognised at the Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Delivering his National Day message, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said that a "spirit of unity" has helped Singapore to succeed, and many of the award recipients demonstrated this.

"They give their time, their effort and their skills to help others," he said. "Some have volunteered with the Home Team for decades. Others have saved the lives of strangers and kept our neighbourhoods free of crime." 

Also present at the ceremony was Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Second Minister for Home Affairs Desmond Lee and Parliamentary Secretary Amrin Amin.

The other recipients included Mr Mohammad Azmi Jaffar, 35, who works as a condominium security guard.

He had been on the job on the second day of Chinese New Year in January when he heard a mother cry out for help near the pool. Rushing over, he saw her child floating face-down in the water.

"She handed the kid to me, and I saw that the child's eyes were rolled back," said Mr Azmi, who is also a Singapore Civil Defence Force National Serviceman.

Instinct kicked in, and he put the child over his shoulder to perform "back blows" to get the water out of her.

She soon regained consciousness.

"The mother was crying, and crumpled to the ground after passing her child to me," he said, adding that while he had been nervous, it was important for him to stay calm to resolve the situation.