Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 07/13/2013 13:00 | By Channel NewsAsia

Suspect in Kovan double murder in S'pore police custody

Suspect in Kovan double murder in S'pore police custody

Suspect in Kovan double murder in S'pore police custody

SINGAPORE: After a 56-hour search, 34-year-old police officer Iskandar Rahmat has been arrested in connection with Wednesday's double murder at Kovan.

The suspect was nabbed in Johor Bahru at 11.30pm on Friday.

He will be charged in court on Monday.

At a news conference on Saturday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean expressed his condolences to the victim's family and broke the news.

He commented: "This case is especially troubling as the suspect is a police officer. The police informed me of this when they established his identity on Thursday morning. We had not earlier released any details for operational reasons as the police assessed that there was no threat to public safety, and revealing his identity was likely to have made his arrest more difficult to achieve."

On Wednesday, the body of 67-year-old Tan Boon Sin was found in his home at Hillside Drive.

The body of his son, 42-year-old Tan Chee Heong, was dragged under a car for one kilometre from the home, before being dislodged outside Kovan MRT station.

Police said the suspect fled to Malaysia at 11pm that night on a scooter.

The suspect was a former investigating officer who had been removed from his duties and was facing disciplinary action for “financial embarrassment” prior to the incident.

He was deployed to perform administrative duties and barred from carrying arms.

Police said the suspect was also in debt due to personal domestic matters.

Police said the extent of the relationship between the suspect and the older Mr Tan is not known. But they said the older victim had made a police report over a case of theft in November last year.

Police said the suspect was subsequently reassigned from the case.

The case was handed to another officer who was already investigating a series of similar thefts.

Later in the day, police were seen collecting evidence from the suspect's home.

He was also taken to the scene of the crime at Hillside Drive, to assist with police investigations.

Neighbours said they are relieved the suspect has been caught.

At the news conference, Mr Teo also thanked the Malaysian police for their assistance.

He said the actions the suspect is accused of have tarnished the reputation of the Singapore police.

Mr Teo said: "No one is above the law. Anyone who breaks the law, in particular officers placed in positions of trust or authority will have to face the full weight of the law. We have zero tolerance for officers who break the law. I am confident that the investigations will be thorough and that justice will be served. I have asked the Commissioner of Police to tell every officer to continue to perform his duty faithfully and diligently so as to maintain the trust that the public has in the police force and our officers."

Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee said at the news conference the fact that the suspect was a police officer gave investigators greater resolve to crack the case.

He added the police force will not be distracted by the current unfortunate event - and will continue its work of safeguarding Singapore.

He said: “When I was first told that the murder suspect could be one of our own, my initial reaction was disbelief, swiftly followed by anger and anguish. This was the same gamut of emotions police investigators had to deal with in the last few days as they pursued the suspect. The fact that the suspect is a police officer gave my investigators even greater resolve and determination to solve this case. I commend them for going about their duties in a thoroughly professional manner, and for being ultimately successful in capturing their target. We have now captured Officer Iskandar and we will prosecute him to the maximum extent.”

Commissioner Ng expects Singapore will reverberate with talk about the tragic incident - with most of it an outcry critical of the police, and questioning the quality and integrity of police officers.

He said: "Even as we investigate the murders, the police also look to find out what has led an individual who has sworn to uphold the law to now stand accused of breaking it in the most grievous way. Our police force and every policeman and policewoman is tarred by the actions of this single officer. This is unfortunate, but my officers and I will take every criticism in our stride. The public's trust in the police is the only reason why we are able to keep Singapore as safe as it is. This trust is hard-earned and must never be broken. And we will not allow this tragedy to adversely affect the strong bonds that we share with the communities that we protect."

This incident comes on the heels of former Singapore Civil Defence Force commissioner Peter Lim - who was jailed six months for corruption.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean said while in any organisation there may be individual failings, but the key is what is done about them.

Mr Teo said in these cases they have shown that the integrity of the organisation is upheld, and this has helped maintain the confidence.

He said that is what the government will continue to do. - CNA/ac/xq

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