Straits Times Forum, 5 Dec 07
I REFER to the letter from Mr Leow Zi Xiang, ‘Reader sees red over police reply’ (ST, Nov 28).
Police would like to assure the public that we conduct our security checks judiciously. During the Asean Summit, police conducted checks on about 140 persons seeking to enter the protected area around Shangri-La Hotel. Only about 20 were advised to leave. These decisions to check, advise or remove persons from the gazetted area were not made arbitrarily, but after careful appreciation of the situation.
According to our officer who first spotted him, Mr Leow was wearing a red football jersey, in the company of people wearing red T-shirts, the chosen colour of the Asean Summit protesters.
When he subsequently approached the protected area, the officer questioned him on his purpose in doing so. He said he was there for a walk but could not say where he was heading to. He insisted that he had a right to go wherever he wanted and was not able to give a satisfactory account of his presence there.
Mr Leow was then advised not to proceed further into the protected area. After he entered the area, he was turned away by police officers.
In his letter, Mr Leow asserts that police had impugned his integrity and suggested that he had not been completely honest in his account of events. He had portrayed himself as an innocent passer-by whom police had turned away just because he happened to be wearing a red football jersey.
However, the following fact showed otherwise. After Mr Leow’s letter was published, police were alerted by Internet users to the fact that he had declared openly on his Facebook page his intention to participate in an anti-Myanmar protest at the Shangri-La Hotel on Nov 19. The posting was accessible to all Facebook users.
Police will leave it to readers to come to their own conclusion about Mr Leow’s protest of innocence.
Audrey Ang (Ms)
Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Singapore Police Force
This is indeed a worrying admission: That the police are monitoring even the semi-private domain of Facebook. They cloaked it by writing that they were “alerted by Internet users” (read: we didn’t do it ourselves).
But how was this posting “accessible to all Facebook users”? It is (to my knowledge) not possible to see which “groups” a person is subscribed to unless you are his/her “friend”. I did a search on this guy, and it did show up a profile, but I can only send him a message, poke him, view his friends and add him as my friend.