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Tue, May 18, 2010
The New Paper
Top cops in CPIB probe

By Vivien Chan

GRAFT-busters have launched a corruption probe involving some top cops, The New Paper on Sunday has learnt.

Sources said officers from the Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB) have called up five senior
police officers for interviews.

Those who have given their statements include heads of investigation of police divisions, a Neighbourhood Police Centre commanding officer and the director of a police department.

It is normal practice to call up several witnesses when conducting an investigation, said retired police officers.

A former police investigator, who declined to be named, said: "Even when one person maybe a suspect, an investigator will have to call up five other witnesses.

"Giving a statement does not suggest guilt."

The CPIB is an independent body under the Prime Minister's Office and it investigates alleged corruption in the private and public sectors.

When contacted about the probe, a CPIB spokesman said: "We are unable to comment."

So what happens in such a probe?

Said lawyer Kertar Singh, a former police officer: "Normally, the CPIB will conduct very thorough investigations. After the investigations, they will get the sanction of the Attorney-General to decide whether to charge them in court or within the force (internally).

"It is difficult to say what the police will do next, as it depends on the nature of the allegation."

The New Paper on Sunday asked the police about the probe.

A police spokesman said: "Integrity is a core value of the Police, together with courage, loyalty and fairness and the police management will cooperate fully in any investigation of corruption by any police officer.

"It is, however, inappropriate for us to comment on on-going investigations, especially when the investigations
are undertaken by another agency."

He added: "In a similar vein, we would like to advise the media to refrain from making speculations or pre-judgements on the case as this may compromise the integrity of investigations and prejudice its outcome.

"Instead, the media should let due process take its course so that the truth can be established in a fair and
unbiased manner."

Big-scale probes are rare.

The last reported corruption case involving a number of senior officers was the Ah Long San case in
1999.

Loan-shark king Chua Tiong Tiong, better known as Ah Long San, was sentenced to 10 years' jail in 2001.

He did not go to jail alone. Ten police officers joined him. Among them were an assistant superintendent and three inspectors.

His case was complicated. Investigations began as far back as 1995, and his court case spanned three years - from 1999 to 2001.

More recently, former Deputy Superintendent Kelvin Choo Yew Beng, 38, was jailed six months in March this year for getting a woman to take the rap for a friend caught for a traffic offence.

Choo resigned in June 2008.

Last December, a police officer was sentenced to 14 months' jail for abusing the police database to retrieve the confidential particulars of three people.

Sylvester Marian, 45, then an inspector, used the police computer system 10 times to run unauthorised
checks on the addresses and criminal records of three people for personal gain, over six months in 2005.

The offences were uncovered by accident during a 2006 probe by the CPIB over allegations that Marian,
who joined the force in 1988, had accepted a bribe.

In July 2008, Daniel James Lim, a senior police station inspector, was fined $2,000 for engaging in trade
andother employment without permission.

Not only did he manage the business of a pub in Katong, he lent money to a drinking friend, at exorbitant
loan shark interest rates.

In 2004, four police officers were arrested for accepting bribes from operators of illegal gaming machines.

They were from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and three other police divisions.

The operation was one of the most hush-hush probes since the arrest of Ah Long San.

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