Women who chased down and cornered pervert honoured by police

(From left) Ms Ashlynna Ng Rui, Ms Debbi Cheong Pei Lin and Ms Hemaa Shruthi Sekar received Public Spiritedness Awards for assisting in the arrest of a sex offender.
(From left) Ms Ashlynna Ng Rui, Ms Debbi Cheong Pei Lin and Ms Hemaa Shruthi Sekar received Public Spiritedness Awards for assisting in the arrest of a sex offender.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - When 23-year-old Hemaa Shruthi Sekar was approached by a woman left traumatised by a pervert, she knew she had to help.

The man had fled after performing a sex act in front of the woman at a Tiong Bahru park but Ms Hemaa, who gave chase with the victim and four other women, said: "The more we saw him run, the more we wanted to stop him."

Despite his attempts to hide behind walls and in void decks, the group cornered him in a carpark after a 45-minute chase. Police arrived to arrest him 10 minutes after being alerted.

On Friday (June 7), the police honoured the parliamentary assistant and two of the other women - communications coordinator Debbi Cheong Pei Lin, 23, and Ashlynna Ng Rui, 24 - by giving them Public Spiritedness Awards.

"We weren't afraid to chase after the man because we wanted justice for the victim," added Ms Hemaa, who attended the ceremony at the Central Police Division.

The award is given out to members of the public who help to stop acts of crime.

Friday's other winners were two hotel staff who rushed to help a suicidal woman and a food delivery rider who stopped a thief.

 
 

Manager Maria Leong, 26, and director Lam Siew Pak, 58, spotted the emotionally unstable woman on the edge of the Singapore River in front of the Fullerton Hotel and spent two hours trying to persuade her to move away from the ledge.

Ms Leong spoke to the Chinese national in Mandarin to try and calm her down.

When the police arrived, the woman grew even more stressed but Ms Leong was able to talk to her and she was eventually moved to safety.

Meanwhile, part-time food deliveryman Muhammad Talip Ajman Ali, 26, received the award after chasing a man who stole a foreign worker's mobile phone near Lower Delta Road. The thief eventually threw the phone on the ground and was arrested with Mr Talip's help.

"Their actions are a good example for others and a testament to the strong sense of partnership between the police and the community," said Assistant Commissioner of Police Gregory Tan Siew Hin, the division's commander.

He advised members of the public to call the police first, adding: "We don't always encourage members of the public to directly confront perpetrators, because it depends on your own assessment of your ability. It will also be safer to do so if you are in a group or in a larger public space.

"If you are not confident in confronting the accused directly, you can also follow him quietly and let the police know his movements and your whereabouts."