SINGAPORE – From shootouts to robberies and riots, police officers have risked their lives to maintain law in Singapore over the last 200 years.
But some make the ultimate sacrifice.
On Tuesday (Aug 3), the 125 officers who were killed in the line of duty were remembered in Parliament. The Singapore Police Force only began keeping records of fallen officers from 1901.
One of them was Inspector Allan Lim who on Aug 5, 1965, was shot by notorious kidnapper Morgan Teo during a pre-dawn operation in Siang Lim Park in Geylang.
Insp Lim was injured during a fierce gun battle which even saw the gangster lobbing hand grenades. Insp Lim died from his injuries, at 28 years of age.
His son, Superintendent of Police (Ret) David Lim, was just nine months old at the time.
Supt (Ret) Lim told the media that he is glad fallen officers like his father are finally being remembered.
The 56-year-old, who retired from the force in 2019, told the media: “It’s about time that something like this is done. Because if you see other countries… they actually honour those who died in the line of service. In Singapore, I think it slipped by.”
He said that during his growing up years, his father’s heroics were not frequently mentioned at home. It was his grandfather, also a police officer, who influenced him to join the force in 1992.
He recalled spending his childhood with the police officer friends of his grandfather, Inspector (Ret) Lim Choon Seng, and admiring his grandfather’s medals, helmet and baton.
“Just before my grandfather passed away I told him I was going to join the police force… He just said ‘be careful’,” said Supt (Ret) Lim.
Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok) outlined Insp Lim’s heroics and those of other officers who died in the course of duty as he expressed his support for a motion that was passed in Parliament on Tuesday to commemorate the Singapore Police Force.
“For the officers who died in the line of duty, their spouses, parents, children and their siblings bore the brunt of the loss,” he said.
He added: “As a nation, we should never forget the ultimate sacrifices made by our fallen officers in the line of duty.”
Mr Murali also told the stories of some of the retired police officers who were present in Parliament.
One was of Detective Station Inspector (Ret) Anthony Low Boon Eng, 78, who had earlier told the media of the close shave he had with secret society member and notorious gunman Chua Hung Peng, better known as “Gia Kang”, in 1974. The nickname, which means scorpion in Hokkien, came about from Chua’s early days as a criminal who specialised in snatching ladies’ gold chains.
Detective Station Insp (Ret) Low said he had tracked Chua down but the gangster had crept up from behind and beat him several times with his gun and placed him in a chokehold.
“Gia Kang snatched my revolver and held me at gunpoint with my own revolver. He kept his own revolver at his waist. He told me that today is his day or my day. It’s either him or me,” he told the media.
“He also asked if I was not afraid to die,” added the retired officer.
After several attempts, the officer managed to wrestle his gun from the gangster and shot him just as Chua was about to shoot him with his own weapon. The gangster died on the spot.
Detective Station Insp (Ret) Low was awarded the Police Gallantry Medal and eventually retired after 40 years of service.
He admitted that he feared for his life at the time, but said: “I knew that I had a duty to perform; to do my utmost best to fight crime so as to keep our nation safe and secure.”