Wednesday, January 03, 2007

High level of police efficiency in Singapore!

Yes Singapore is a shopping paradise. But even for shopping we have rules to follow. Please be aware of them and don't end up like the unfortunate shopper in the article below.

If you have 2 items on your shopping list, one of them found inside the shopping center and the other displayed outside, you have to pick up the item inside and pay for it first before walking out to pick up the other item. Otherwise you will trigger the alarm system and the police have no choice but to jail or fine you. In any other country, they might accept that you want to pick up both items so you can pay them together but in Singapore it results in a criminal offense.

Why can't the police and security accept a reasonable explanation and let you off? Because in Singapore there is this principle of kiasuism, when happen if you're really trying to steal the item inside by walking out. If they let you off, they risk their shopping center becoming abused by shop lifters. This is also why we cannot give out help to the poor what happen if there are people pretending to be poor to get the help no help for the poor.

Thank goodness our police operate by the book does our government. Our people are trained to follow rules religiously and they are punished severely if forget the rules. This has motivated Singaporeans to be law abiding citizens. We have a peaceful and secure society because we have so many rules.

My innocent nephew was handcuffed in public

An angry Marcus Tan sent in this email to STOMP:

To All Happy Shoppers :

Beware of Traps With Outdoor Sales Items OUTSIDE Department Stores eg…OGShoppers enjoying their year-end shopping should be VERY CAREFUL not to be trapped!!My nephew was shopping at OG Albert Court on the 30th Dec 2006. He picked up a packet of singlets that he wanted.He proceeded to the outdoor areas, HOLDING THE PACKET OF SINGLET WITH HIS RIGHT HAND EXPOSED, to buy a pillow displayed outside. As he passed out of the store, the Alarm sounded….the guard came and brought him to the office. They refused to listen to any reasoning, Especially the FACT that the packet wasn't hidden in any bags BUT EXPOSED VISIBILY ON HIS RIGHT HAND. . Who would want to display something that they have stolen so visibily????.…..IT was a GENUINE MISTAKE!!!! But nobody cared. The police were called in and he was taken away HANDCUFFED IN PUBLIC !!!!Please advise your Esteemed Readers not to be trapped by this situation. Marcus Tan


Mr. Tan tells us that his nephew is a very timid 30-year-old male who is well educated with a stable job.The nephew was shopping alone around noon on the 30th of December for a pillow for his newly rented room at the area shown below.Mr. Tan states that OG's security personnel and the police did not take his nephew's explanations into consideration at all. "The police only trusted the secutry personnel and refused to even hear him out," said the outraged Mr. Tan,"they said that since he has a clean record, he should just admit and pay a fine and move on.
"The family has engaged a lawyer to mitigate for him, as he was innocently made to admit in the statement by "screaming officers who threatened him". "It's a trap!" declares Mr. Tan in his second email to STOMP, "Traps like this exist in almost all the shopping centers all over Singapore."This is just one side to the story. Police are currently investigating the case and STOMP is waiting for OG's response on the matter. Look out for an update soon!


whybeillogical said...

Wow this is amazing. We read news about a doctor beaten up by gangsters and the police refusing to investigate, classifying it as a civil case. Here we have a man who committed an honest mistake, and our police wasted no time in criminalizing him.

Anonymous said...

Singapore is a country where the training given is about what one CANNOT do, and not to use one's brains to figure out what best to do. It is clearly a CANNOT DO country, hence the Malaysian claim that they are a BOLEH or CAN DO country!

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous but it will be too easy to judge if we listen to one side of the story. Oh well, i've posted this story on, hopefulyl we can get more people to know about it. Support my story by voting on it :)

Anonymous said...

Actually I have the exact same experience when I was still a young adult about a decade back. But luckily that I was a wimp and thus never get hand over to the mata.

I was shopping for clothing for my job interview in this emporium (The management of that emporium had since changed but I think they still kept the same name, so perhaps it’s more appropriate to name it here) in heartland, pick up some clothing inside the emporium and was on my way to the cashier. Then I noticed there are some more clothing on discount displayed outside the emporium along the corridor. So I just simply walk out to check on the clothing with my arm still holding the 4~5 shirts and trousers exposed to view. It never occurs to me even once in my mind that this is a wrong thing to do.

But then the alarm beep, and I was immediately approached by a lady staff nearby, she requested me to stop where I was and exclaimed loudly that I was suspected to be in possession of stolen goods, and shortly after the security guard was called over to ‘escort’ me to their office. All this was done in front of a large crowd that was already started to form around the area. It’s the most humiliating experience in my life.

In the office, I was interrogated like a criminal by the security officer and also an executive or maybe a manager or something. They refuse to believe that I was not stealing, that I was just walking out to check on the items displayed outside and I intended to pay for everything that I hold on to. I argue that I was carrying a big backpack and if I want to steal, why don’t I hide the items in the bag and choose to carry them with my arm exposed to public view?

But they refuse to take my reasoning and kept insisting that I was trying to steal and their CCTV had it all captured on tape, and threaten that I better admit to the deed and sign a statement and pay for all the goods in my possession, or else they would call the police. They intimidated me that if this matter is handed over to the police, I would be left with a criminal record because with all the evidence they had, there is no way I can prove that I am innocent and would 100% be convicted. But since I never had any record of stealing in their emporium before, they wanted to give me a ‘chance’. All I need to do is sign a statement and pay for all the items and they would let me go.

Since I was just out of NS, am not rich and can’t afford a lawyer to fight a case, and my job interview is also coming soon and I don’t want to ruin my future by being taken away by the mata and left with a criminal record, I decided to be a wimp and bend over. So I sign on a book stating that I did try to steal the items, paid for the items and then allowed to leave.

It’s almost a decade, I had since never step my foot again into that place even though it had change a new management. After all they now already have a ‘record’ of me ‘stealing’, if they ‘trap’ me for the second time I would sure die, why should I risk myself to be shopping there again and give them a chance to trap me? Too bad during that time Internet is still not a norm and my writing too sux to write to the paper, so I just swallow the whole injustice and suffered in silent.

As I also experienced this before, so I definitely tend to believe that this Mr Tan is telling the truth and understand what he had been going through.

Anonymous said...

During Chirstmas Eve at Orchard Road, the less-than-competent police, I believe, or rather, seriously short-numbered, did nothing more than standing behind barricades, looking on and shining their torchlights and making small cautions to the rowdy crowd and left it as that! The barricades in place, served more to block the traffic and resulted in worse traffic flow than expected. I wondered what the authorities were thinking of.

Anonymous said...

Those follow the rules without brain are called NUTS. This is the culture here. Forget about this red dot. There are far too many real life incidences on this unique culture. Hopeless!

Anonymous said...

i'm reading all of this and one question keeps popping in my mind:

why are the security of these dept stores doing this? what do they aim to achieve by getting some innocent person to admit they shoplifeted? what do these stores gain from it?

I can understand where the police are coming from: they dont want to do the paperwork if the case goes to court. Better to get the suspect to agree - get it done and move on. whether this is right or wrong - thats another discussion.

but my point being - whats the rationale/motivation for these shopping centres and their security to harass customers like this?

Do they lose millions every day from shoplifters that they jump at every single suspect like this?

and if they stop one guy - it saves them tons of lost revenue?

it just doesnt make sense.

- Aygee

Anonymous said...

Come to think about it, alot of things don't make sense in this world, let alone this country. It's much better to focus our attention on the next Court's sale, less disappointment that way.

Anonymous said...

The security guys need to catch someone now and then to prove that they are doing their jobs. Being a security guard is so boring that any excitement, interrogation, confession is better than just standing around.

Anonymous said...

what i think is that indeed shoplifting is a problem. However those who intend to shoplift will carry it out in such a way they are seldom caught, on the other hand those caught were the unwitting and innocent ones. In summary, the security is inept.

Anonymous said...


The people who "follow the book" and enforce this rule BLINDLY are not interested in being "customer-friendly" or if the business is affected. Their role (and their job "KPIs" I'm very sure) is to show that they are "working" by catching some people.

This is the problem with many organisations. There a "silos" within such orgnisations. Some people do purely what they are supposed to do, with little or no consideration about the part of the picture. Eg. my job is to catch shoplifter -> shoplifter is defined as anyone who trigger the alarm -> so alarm triggered -> catch him -> get praised by my direct boss -> get recognition -> the end.

Take it one level up, our govt is also behaving in many ways like this. Eg. Polyclinic is considered secondary healthcare service -> Secondary healthcare means no need for excellent service -> That means waiting for hours is a norm, irregardless whether patient is a 60 year old with strength to stand in queue -> That means no need to improve -> End of discussion, Thank you very much.

It's sad. But like Lucky Tan said, we're still considered lucky because we have a blog like this to gripe. Gripe, gripe, gripe only, then wait until next election, get Progress Package, get tempted with covered walkway and amphitheatre, forget gripes, vote for PAP. Life is GREAT.

Anonymous said...

hmm..which begs yet another question:

- shoplifting is a problem
- security is inept

then why the heck do they still do this indoor/outdoor thing?

if it results in harrassing completely innocent people, and yet they could not control the shoplifting, then heck, just stop doing the indoor/outdoor displays. just bring everything inside.

If you want outdoors, think of some solution: eg those from inside, pay inside. those outside, pay outside.

have large signs to remind customers of this. make sure all salespeople are aware and alert customers about this.

sigh... maybe some foreign talent will be able to advise our store managers better. ;-)

- Aygee

Anonymous said...


I posted the comment just above your last one. I agree with you. But back to my point about silos. The people who came up with this brilliant idea of indoor plus outdoor sections, are different from the ones employed to catch shoplifters.


redbean said...

i did the same thing a couple of weeks ago at carrefour in plaza singapura. i had in my hands a dozen wine glasses and needed to get a few other things. and i needed a trolley but all trolleys were parked outside. the cashier pointed them out to me and i walked out of the store into the atrium with the unpaid glasses in hand to look for them.

luckily the alarm did not sound and i returned with the trolley and the glasses, back into the store.

whew! i could have been handcuffed as well.

i also post at

Anonymous said...

singaporean... just need to threaten them with a little bit of authority and their balls will shrink. all thanks to national service and pap, singaporean guys are the most compliant idiots who don't know how to stand and fight for their own rights.

Anonymous said...

hmm...yes, i think thats right step: just stand up to it.

when the security guards catch you and threaten to put you to jail, or when the police comes to take you away, just make sure all of them understand that:

- I did not steal, but if you put me in handcuffs and get me to pay a fine for something i did not do, I WILL NOT REST UNTIL THE DAY EVERY SECURITY GUARD, SALES ASSISTANT, STORE MANAGER, STORE MANAGER'S BOSS, POLICE OFFICER, COMMANDING OFFICER ON DUTY, DIVISION COMMANDING OFFICER are reprimanded for putting me through this humiliating episode.

Their role is to protect the innocent, on top of catching the guilty.

- I will also make sure the press writes about my story so that Singaporeans know what type of business this store runs
- I will also make sure CASE hears this (on second thoughts, maybe not CASE. they're a useless govt body that has no influence whatsoever, except writing press statements).

because thats how the Elite get away when unnice things happen to them. we have to start behaving like the Elites too - only problem is that can we afford lawyer fees to go all the way like the Elites?


freemason said...

ahaha this red dot is the paradise for the Policestate Authoritarian Punishers. I cant believe 4 million suckers are still grovelling here. Except cannot include the Elite as this is island is their private SICC. oh btw WE are the true ELITE of stinkapore Everyday Living Is Too Expensive.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, some idiot post in the papers that he hate prices going up and such but will still vote for the pappies, what an idiot, maybe he is born like tat..

Anonymous said...

I do shoplifting and I AM PROUD TO BE SHOPLIFTER.

Security guards ... lol some of there are fat and run like the turtles if you go away, shoplifting earn in fecking carrefour pure crap of salary only 300$ month its a BIG STEAL.

Many people here do shoplfitng i am sure but you dont want reckon it.