Web Stories Thursday, February 29

SINGAPORE — A former Certis Cisco security officer deployed to the Singapore Police Force did not take enforcement action against an illegal sex enhancement drug peddler in return for a total of S$140 in bribes.

Instead, he would tip off the peddler of looming surveillance or return some of the illicit goods seized.

On Wednesday (Jan 17), Mohammad Hafizudin Hanapiah, 30, pleaded guilty to a corruption charge and was sentenced to three months and two weeks’ jail.

A charge of using S$106 worth of confiscated sex enhancement drugs was taken into consideration.

Hafizudin was also ordered to pay a fine of S$70, or be jailed for an extra day, for the bribes he had taken.

WHAT HAPPENED

Around mid-2022, Hafizudin began working with the foreign workers management teams of the police force.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kiera Yu said that these teams patrol “foreign workers congregation areas”,

Part of Hafizudin’s job scope was to look out for the sale of illegal goods such as sex enhancement drugs, detain the offender, seize any illicit items and inform the police.

If he was unable to detain the offender, he was expected to seize the items, file a seizure report at a designated police station and hand over the items.

Sometime around May 2022, he and a team member with whom he patrolled — former Certis Cisco auxiliary police officer Thiru Murugan Shanmugam, now 30  — wanted to gain money from peddlers they had encountered during their patrols.

They would not take law enforcement action should the peddlers pay them bribes.

In May 2022, Hafizudin and Thiru approached one Chen Zixiong, then 29 and a China national, who was peddling illegal sex enhancement drugs and asked for money.

As part of their agreement, Hafizudin and Thiru would seize items from the peddler as was the protocol, but would retain a portion without reporting it.

Hafizudin would then take a picture of the items they retained and Thiru would show the peddler the picture when the rest of the patrol team left.

Thiru would allow Chen to take back some of the goods if he paid a specified sum a few times higher than their value.

If Chen agreed to pay the sum, Thiru would inform the peddler to place the cash in a cigarette box at a specified location, and either Hafizudin or Thiru would collect it later.

They would then place part of the confiscated goods in another location for the peddler to collect.

They would also sometimes tip off Chen on upcoming patrols and raids so that the peddler could avoid getting into trouble.

In total, Chen gave the duo S$140 — S$40 in May 2022 and S$100 in June 2022. This sum was split equally between both of them.

Hafizudin’s deeds came to light only on Aug 29 in 2022 when the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau received information about the offences. 

He was arrested about two weeks later on Sept 14 at Woodlands Checkpoint.

Thiru faces two corruption charges. The hearing date has not yet been set.

‘DESTROYS IMAGE OF PUBLIC SERVICE’

DPP Yu called for a sentence of 12 weeks’ jail, noting that “corruption by public sector officers is more damaging and destroys the image of the public sector”.

She added that Hafizudin had not only breached the trust that the police had placed in him, but his crime was premeditated.

“The offence involves two occasions and the act was not done on impulse as he had to pre-emptively save some of the items to return to the peddler and use it to solicit money,” DPP Yu said.

She added that Hafizudin was “motivated by greed and personal gain”.

Pleading for leniency, Hafizudin admitted that he had done wrong and had given the matter much thought.

“But this is the first time… as of now I am working, I have a new job and my bosses are very supportive of me,” he said.

In sentencing, District Judge Brenda Chua said that as a law enforcement officer, “standards have to be upheld”.

The judge described the crimes as “egregious”, noting that Hafizudin had initiated contact with Chen to collect cash from him in exchange for not taking law enforcement action.

Any person found guilty of corruption faces up to five years’ jail or a fine of up to S$100,000, or both.

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