Three lauded for public spiritedness, and six for helping to prevent scams, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Three lauded for public spiritedness, and six for helping to prevent scams

One morning in April, like most days, Mr Koh Ming Bin boarded the bus to work. The 24-year-old was settling into his 45-minute journey when he spotted something that enraged him.

“I saw a girl being molested right in front of me,” said the aircraft technician trainee at ST Engineering Aerospace Services. “I was very angry, witnessing this whole situation.”

In an instant, Mr Koh was on his feet, asking the victim if she was being molested. Once she confirmed it, he called the police and notified the bus captain, who locked the doors to prevent the man from leaving until the police arrived.

Mr Koh told The Straits Times he would do the same if he saw something like that happening again. 

“I wouldn’t want my girlfriend or my family members to experience this,” he said. 

According to the Singapore Police Force’s annual crime brief, outrage of modesty cases increased from 1,474 in 2021 to 1,610 in 2022.

On Monday, Mr Koh was one of three people who received the Public Spiritedness Award at Bedok Police Division. 

Assistant Commissioner of Police (AC) Justin Wong said of Mr Koh: “(He) subsequently found out from the victim that the man had committed a similar act on her on a previous bus journey. If Mr Koh did not intervene, the victim said she would not have reported the incident.”

The other two awards were presented to Mr Ng Hoong Seong, 31, who helped to persuade an emotionally distressed woman to get off the parapet of an HDB block, and Mr Tong Chee Fei, 37, an SBS Transit bus captain who prevented another molester from leaving his bus until the police arrived.

Six other people were also given the Community Partnership Award on Monday, for helping to stop or prevent scams from happening.

One of them, Mr Koh Jun Yi, 18, was working as a temporary bank branch support staff member at UOB’s Bedok branch in 2022 when he attended to a customer who wanted to transfer $1,000 to an overseas boyfriend. 

“She showed me her messages with her boyfriend, which raised a few alarm bells in my mind,” he told ST, adding that he gently questioned her further before alerting his supervisor.

The incident came as scams remain a concern in Singapore. Reported scam and cybercrime cases have increased by more than 25 per cent in 2022 from 2021, said AC Wong.

Said Mr Koh: “I felt it was my responsibility to step in... She could have lost a lot of money if I did not take this extra step.”

Meanwhile, Ms Jessica Chen Yixuan, 28, a policy and escalations manager at Carousell, was deciding where to have dinner in Orchard Road when she received a call from the Bedok Police Division regarding counterfeit Apple AirPods being sold on the app. 

“I was basically on my phone the entire time, gathering the information that the police required,” she told ST, estimating that it took her about two hours. 

With her help, the officers arrested two men for cheating. Eighteen boxes of the counterfeit goods were also seized as a result of her timely intervention. 

Said AC Wong: “We hope their acts will inspire others to do the same. After all, it’s only because the public stands shoulder to shoulder alongside the police in the fight against crime that we are able to keep Singapore safe and secure.”