SINGAPORE – A friendly catch-up over dinner between old friends took a dark turn when they heard a woman crying for help at Ulu Pandan Park Connector late into the night of Feb 2.
Mr Vinodh Rajendran and Ms Ramizah Banu Abdul Rahman responded swiftly and saw a man pinning the woman down as he tried to get on top of her.
When the man saw them, he tried to flee. Mr Vinodh managed to apprehend him after a five-minute chase. Meanwhile, Ms Ramizah called the police, who later arrested the man for outrage of modesty.
Mr Vinodh, 31, a chef at North London Collegiate School, said: “I was more shocked than anything when I realised what was happening. Singapore is supposed to be safe and yet such a horrible crime was happening in front of me.
“What stuck with me the most was how grateful the lady was. She was crying and she told me that if we hadn’t been there, she would have just given in.”
Mr Vinodh and Ms Ramizah were two of six recipients who received the Public Spiritedness Award on Tuesday (June 7) for their contributions to public safety.
Another recipient, Mr Mohamed Subhan, 38, a loss prevention officer, was commended for noticing and nabbing a shoplifter at Cotton On in VivoCity.
Mr Subhan, who was off-duty, was shopping with two friends on Dec 23, 2021, when he saw a man looking furtively around in the ladies section before slipping a pair of sandals into his haversack.
He waited for the shoplifter to leave the store before confronting him. He then told the man to follow him to Cotton On’s staff office. The man was later arrested for shoplifting.
“I was quite calm when I saw it happening because I’ve seen so many of these shoplifting cases happen in front of my eyes over my 15 years as a loss prevention officer,” said Mr Subhan.
Mr Vinodh and Mr Subhan were presented with plaques at a ceremony at Clementi Police Division by its commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (AC) Marc E. Madam Ramizah did not attend the ceremony.
The other recipients were Mr Benedict Ng Sheng Chao, who intervened in an altercation between a man who was denied entry into a hawker centre and a safe distancing ambassador, and Mr Alagar Ravi and Mr Lim Wei Hao, who assisted the police in theft cases.
AC Mark E said at the event: “Crime is more likely solved, and criminals are more likely deterred, if public-spiritedness is strong and widespread.”
Three organisations received the Community Partnership Award for their collaborative efforts in crime prevention. They are Shopee, NTUC FairPrice and Resorts World Sentosa, which assisted the police in various security operations and scam-fighting efforts.
Mr Winston Goh, 38, the head of marketing for Shopee, said: “Our partnership with the police is important to us because we are key players in Singapore’s e-commerce market, so we want to make sure that our customers are educated about these scams.”