SINGAPORE: Three women received the Singapore Police Force's Public Spiritedness Award on Friday (Jun 7) for assisting in an investigation of a man for insulting the modesty of a woman.
On Mar 22, Ms Cheong Pei Lin Debbi, 23, Ms Hemaa Shruthi Sekar, 23 and Ms Ng Rui Ashlynna, 24, were heading home from a friend’s party with two other friends at around 11pm.
The five of them were walking along Kim Pong Road towards Tiong Bahru MRT station when a middle-aged woman approached and informed them that a man had masturbated in her presence earlier and was still following her.
Together with the victim, they came up with the idea of stalling the man by pretending to ask him for directions, while Ms Ng called the police.
The man was still calm, until the six women followed and cornered him in a multi-storey car park while waiting for the police to arrive.
According to Ms Cheong, he became visibly distressed and intimidated, repeatedly asking: “What do you want from me?”
“I wasn’t really afraid because I had friends with me. The other thing was that we really wanted justice for the lady in question,” said Ms Hemaa.
“The more we saw him run, the more we wanted to catch him.”
The man was subsequently arrested for public nuisance. Investigations are currently ongoing.
“The fact that six ladies acted very decisively at that time ... I think that’s assuring because as we often say, low crime doesn’t mean no crime,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Gregory Tan at the ceremony.
“This is an example that even in moments where you don’t think something will happen, you come across someone who is doing an obscene act and we are very thankful that they took that decision to step forward.”
Asked about how they felt receiving the award, Ms Ng said: “I think a lot has to be done to prevent things like this from happening. While it’s nice that we’re receiving this award, really this is something that everyone should be doing.”
“If you see someone who needs help, you should help them,” she added.
Their companions Ms Anthea Julia Chua and Ms Koh Huishan Deborah, who did not attend the ceremony, will be given the award separately.
Two other members of the public received the award for assisting the police in different cases.
Ms Maria Leong, 26, was on duty as manager at the Fullerton Bay Hotel on Mar 14 when security informed her that a woman in her 40s was on the edge of the river in front of the hotel at about 4pm.
The woman was observed to be emotionally unstable, citing issues with her job and expressed her intention to jump into the river, said Ms Leong.
“I just felt that it was really my responsibility to ensure that everything goes smooth at that point of time,” she added.
“The main thing was to make sure that she didn't fall into the water.”
Ms Leong called the police for assistance and tried to calm the woman down while waiting for officers to arrive. She was accompanied by director of security Lam Siew Pak, 58, who did not attend the ceremony.
“When the police came, the lady actually retreated back to the ledge and she refused to talk to us,” said AC Tan.
“It was even more encouraging to see Ms Leong step forward again to talk to her, without which we probably would have had a lot of problems."
He added: “She (the victim) would become even more hysterical, that was her state of mind, so we needed someone not in uniform to engage her.”
They eventually managed to bring the woman to safety after two hours.
Meanwhile, GrabFood driver Muhammad Talip Ajman Ali, 26, helped police chase after a man who stole a phone along Lower Delta Road on Mar 17.
Concluding the ceremony, AC Tan said: “We’re very thankful for these individuals’ strong sense of civic mindedness and concern for public safety.”
“In the three cases, they stepped forward to help bring a quicker resolution to the incidents. Their actions are good examples for others and a testament to the strong sense of partnership between the police and the community."