A seasoned police officer still remembers the day his team found the body of eight-year-old murder victim Huang Na.
It was October 2004, more than a decade ago, but Assistant Superintendent of Police Kelvin Kwok can still clearly picture the box the child's body was dumped in, and the nine layers of plastic wrapped around her bare, decomposed corpse.
The 42-year-old officer and his team from the Criminal Investigation Department worked tirelessly to arrest murderer Took Leng How. His eventual conviction was satisfaction enough for ASP Kwok.
"To the living, we bring truth, and to the dead, justice," said the police officer, speaking to The Straits Times yesterday on the sidelines of the 2015 Home Team Promotion Ceremony.
ASP Kwok is one of more than 5,300 Home Team officers to be promoted this year. In his 21 years of service with the Singapore Police Force, he has also been an investigating officer in several other high-profile crimes, such as the riot in Little India in December 2013 and Kovan double murders, as well as the kidnapping of Sheng Siong supermarket chief executive Lim Hock Chee's mother last year.
Those receiving promotions include regulars, operationally ready national servicemen, and 107 Voluntary Special Constabulary officers.
Among those climbing the ranks this year is Senior Staff Sergeant Iris Ong, a close protection unit security officer who guards the safety of VVIPs such as government ministers and foreign dignitaries. She is part of the Police Security Command, where only about one officer in 10 is female.
She has been trained to put her life between threats and the people she guards, and said she is ever prepared to do so.
Mr Karam Singh, deputy director of psychological and correctional rehabilitation, is also being rewarded for his good work with the Singapore Prison Service. And so, too, Deputy Superintendent of Police Ng Khai Song of the Central Narcotics Bureau - who spends his day helping in the fight against drug abuse - and Mr Jackson Tan from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, its deputy head of international affairs and legislation.
Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Seet, 37, from the Singapore Civil Defence Force will soon become the youngest SCDF colonel, come June.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean said at yesterday's ceremony that the Government is "studying ways to restructure" Home Team career schemes to provide more seamless advancement opportunities.
DPM Teo, who is also the Coordinating Minister for National Security, added that the Home Team's work remains people-centric, even as technology is utilised in a major way. "Ultimately, the Home Team's effectiveness depends on the competence and commitment of our officers, and how well you are trained and equipped to perform your roles."
This article was first published on May 21, 2015.
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