SINGAPORE: There are “widespread, erroneous assumptions” about a murder case in Penang which saw a Singaporean man being transferred into Malaysian police’s custody, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said on Friday (Jan 17).
Mr Mohan Rajangam told The Online Citizen on Jan 7 that he was seeking an explanation from Singapore authorities about his arrest and “extradition” to Malaysia in 2015 over a charge made against him in the Penang murder.
Responding to media queries about the transfer of custody of Mr Mohan, 50, to the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP), SPF said it decided it was “necessary in the public interest” to make clarifications about “erroneous assumptions”.
From January 2015, Malaysian police shared information with its Singapore counterparts about members of a Malaysian organised crime gang.
After follow-up investigations, it was established that Mr Mohan was in “regular contact” with these Malaysian gang members, SPF said in its statement on Friday.
On Mar 21, 2015, RMP informed SPF that its officers had engaged in a shootout with members of the gang Mr Mohan was associated with. It led to the death of two gang members, one of whom was known to be in contact with Mr Mohan, SPF added.
Three people, including a senior gang leader, were arrested in a Johor Bahru home by Malaysian police following an operation.
“That unit was rented by Mohan. RMP sought the assistance of SPF to trace and arrest Mohan on an urgent basis as Mohan was believed to be involved in the gang’s drug activities and harbouring members of this gang,” Singapore police said.
“SPF was concerned about Mohan’s links to the gang and involvement in violence, drugs and firearms.”
Mr Mohan was arrested on suspicion of his involvement in drug and gang-related offences. He was informed of the offences against him at the point of arrest, SPF said.
Officers also searched his home in Singapore on Mar 21, 2015, when his wife, mother and sister were present, SPF added.
WARRANT OF ARREST FOR MURDER
Two days later, a warrant of arrest was issued by a Malaysian court against Mr Mohan for an offence of murder.
RMP’s investigations had linked the gang to a murder reported on Mar 2, 2015 in Georgetown, Penang, and the Malaysian force was conducting investigations against him for his possible involvement in the murder.
The Malaysian warrant was endorsed by a Singapore magistrate and Mr Mohan came before a magistrate in the State Courts in Singapore.
According to the Criminal Procedure Court, a person in Singapore can be transferred in custody to an appropriate court in Malaysia or Brunei if a warrant or summon is endorsed by a Singapore magistrate.
The Singapore court directed that Mr Mohan be transferred to the Malaysian court, and SPF transferred custody to RMP on Mar 23, 2015.
SPF said it contacted Mr Mohan's brother on the same day and provided him with contact details of the RMP investigation officer.
“Following RMP’s investigation into the case, RMP decided to take no further action against Mohan. He was released by RMP on Jul 15, 2015,” SPF said in its statement on Friday.
Singapore police said that from the time of his arrest on Mar 21, 2015 to his appearance in Singapore State Courts on Mar 23, Mr Mohan was detained for not more than 48 hours, as allowed by Singapore law.
TRANSFER OF CUSTODY IN ACCORDANCE TO LAW: SPF
The transfer of Mr Mohan’s custody to Malaysian authorities was done in accordance with Singapore law, SPF said.
“This is a longstanding reciprocal arrangement between Singapore and Malaysia to mutually recognise and execute warrants of arrests within our respective jurisdictions,” SPF added.
“This arrangement has enabled Singapore’s law enforcement authorities to secure the return of many criminals who had fled to Malaysia after committing offences in Singapore.”
Between 2016 and 2019, more than 55 fugitives were arrested by Malaysian law enforcement authorities after Singapore sought assistance from its neighbours.
These fugitives were involved in serious crimes such as murder, housebreaking and commercial crimes that have caused substantial financial losses amounting to more than S$120 million.
Singapore authorities have also arrested and transferred custody of more than 25 fugitives to their Malaysian counterparts, SPF added.
It cited the case of the murder of Huang Na, eight, whose body was found at Telok Blangah Hill Park. Malaysian police assisted SPF in 2004 to arrest Malaysian international Took Leng How, who had fled Singapore during the investigations.