Singapore: Police officer to face jail term for being member of two secret societies

Singapore drug offence
Singapore secret society arrest (Representational picture) Singapore Police Force

A Singapore police officer pleaded guilty to be a senior member of the secret society called Sio Gi Ho on Thursday, May 31. The accused also accepted that he was the founder and headman of a biker gang.

The 38-year-old accused, Umar Hassan accepted the illegal activities at the State Courts, where he faced charges of being a member of an unlawful society, including two other charges, which were taken into consideration during the hearing.

Charleston Teo, the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) said that Umar was arrested on November 18, 2016, when he was performing as a Senior Staff Sergeant at the Ang Mo Kio Police Division. The court heard that in 2007 he was recruited in the Sio Gi Ho Secret Society (SGHSS) as a senior gang member and the gang operations use to take place near Tekka Market in Little India.

Eight years after joining the police force, he became the member of the illegal society and he was holding his position at the SGHSS until his arrest in 2016.

The DPP stated that apart from his involvement with this secret society, Umar also formed a biker gang called Team Nitra Racing (TNR) with three others in 2001. The accused told the new members of the gang to avoid illegal races and fights.

Later in 2008, he submitted a proposal to the assistant headman of SGHSS to affiliate TNR with the gang and in return, the biker gang would provide manpower to the secret society. After the assistant headman agreed to Umar's proposal, he appointed the accused as the headman of TNR.

As reported, the police officers from police force's Secret Societies Branch came to know about Umar's illegal activities after they received a video, which showed that a group of men were shouting gang slogan during a wedding ceremony, which took place at Woodlands Street 41.

The video also showed the helmet of TNR gang, with symbols of Chinese characters "Meng Jiang", which is associated with SGHSS.

After watching the first evidence against Umar's illegal activities, the police officers searched his house, from where they found six helmets and four shirts with gang insignias. During the investigation, the officers also searched Umar's Facebook account, mobile phone, laptop and found some photos, where he was seen while posing with some gang-related hand gestures.

DPP Teo told the judge during the hearing that between the 1950s and 1960s, the secret society was found involved in various robberies and kidnappings cases. Even in 2002, the assistant headman of SGHSS was sentenced to jail for extorting, rioting, possession of gangland weapons and recruiting members.

Considering the seriousness of Umar's illegal activities DPP urged for at least one year's jail term, while the defence counsel Nor Hakim Md Shah argued that a year's jail was "excessive," Umar was just a member of that gang and never found involved in any criminal activities.

Even though Teo also acknowledged that Umar was not involved in any such criminal activities, he stated that having a police officer as a senior gang member helps to provoke criminal activities. He said that Umar knew that such societies are illegal but still he violated his own duties as a police officer.

However, the judge Jasvender Kaur said that the Umar's activities actually spoiled the reputation of Singapore Police Force and he will be sentenced on June 20.

But this is not the first case where a public servant, especially a police officer was found involved with the activities of a secret society. On Monday, May 28 four men were charged in the court for being part of unlawful or secret societies.

Later, a full-time police national serviceman was sentenced to jail for being a member of the Sio Kun Tong secret society On Wednesday, May 30.

As per the Societies Act, a person who is or acts as a member of an unlawful society or attends a meeting of an unlawful society, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.

This article was first published on June 1, 2018