Unjustified criticism against police officers should be rebutted: Shanmugam

Three women were arrested on Dec 8, 2017, for allegedly running an illegal brothel in Jurong West flat. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

SINGAPORE - Unjustified attacks made against the police should be rebutted, as these do a huge disservice to the officers in blue who put their lives at risk to keep Singapore safe, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said on Sunday (Dec 10).

"In many countries, unjustified attacks on police have eventually led to the weakening of law enforcement," he wrote in a Facebook post.

"We do not intend to let that happen in Singapore. And I believe that the vast majority of Singaporeans support our approach to maintaining law and order," he said.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr Shanmugam had written a post addressing online criticism of police tactics used during recent raids on illegal brothels near Rowell Road.

Sharing further details of the case in his latest post, he said that there had been complaints of sex workers in the area, with a syndicate seemingly in operation.

"Observations showed that there were lookouts deployed. And some of the sex workers appeared rather young. There was thus also the concern that the syndicate was exploiting underage youngsters," he said.

During the raid on Dec 8, the police had used force where doors were locked, he said, adding that a person had injured himself while trying to escape.

In total, more than 20 people - all foreigners - were arrested, including a 16-year-old underage male sex worker.

Many of them were transgender sex workers, he noted.

He added that the police are concerned about human trafficking as well.

While the operations were ongoing, the police had noticed a woman filming a video, he added.

She later made a post online accusing the police of "wasting taxpayer money, terrorising women". The post has since been taken down.

In response, Mr Shanmugam said: "Would she prefer that Police didn't do anything? (Would she) like the sex workers to continue soliciting for customers along the roads and bringing them into HDB estates among our families and children? What about the exploitation of underage youngsters?"

He added that if the woman really believes that the police had hurt the women sex workers, "she should write in to lodge a complaint" and he would direct an independent investigation.

The authorities have taken action against police officers who have done wrong, especially since the public hold them to higher standards, he said.

But on the other hand, when unjustified attacks are made against them, these must be rebutted, he added.

He said: "Such attacks do a huge disservice to the men and women in blue who put their lives at risk every day to make Singapore safe for all of us."

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