CNB Special Task Force: Mummy wears a bullet-proof vest

CNB Special Task Force: Mummy wears a bullet-proof vest
COVERT: SSG Tini rides a bike to tail a target discreetly while SSG Johnny follows a suspect in a nondescript car.

SINGAPORE -To her 2½-year-old daughter, she's mummy.

To the drug syndicates selling their wares on our streets, she's their worst nightmare.

The wide smile she has when she plays silly games with her child disappears when she receives "the call".

At work, she dons a bullet-proof vest, slash-proof sleeves and gloves, and tails drug traffickers on a motorcycle. She knows that these criminals will do almost anything not to get caught as they can face the death penalty.

Staff Sergeant (SSG) Tini, 34, is part of an elite team with the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) known as the Special Task Force (STF). CNB, Singapore's drug enforcement agency, is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs (also known as the Home Team).

Her name, just like the rest of her teammates featured in this report, has been changed to protect her identity.

Formed in 1997, the STF conducts covert and high-risk operations, which often lead to the crushing of drug syndicates. While the number of personnel in STF remains a highly-guarded secret, their work has not gone unnoticed.

A story published in the Home Team News in 2013 revealed that around 25 syndicates are busted annually for the last five years. In most cases, the STF "would have been involved", the team's senior officer-in-charge, Jason, said.

STF officers are the "tip of the spear" or the "strike team". This means they can expect drama whenever they confront traffickers in a variety of scenarios like home raids, vehicle interceptions or even chasing a fleeing suspect who has decided to scale down the side of a HDB flat.

They are trained to blend in with the environment, often dressing like members of the public.

But do not let their looks fool you as they are always armed. (See story on right.)

When things go according to the officers' plans, the arrests happen smoothly. SSG Tini, who has spent 12 years in CNB with the last six years as a member of STF, described a recent arrest on a public road.

She said: "He (the trafficker) didn't know that we were in front and behind him... When the first (STF) car reversed to box him in, he thought it was an accident."

But there have been instances when the use of force was necessary in making arrests.

In 2012, STF officers used glass breakers - a sharp-edged tool on their extendable batons - to break the windows of a vehicle with two suspected traffickers inside.

After arresting the men, the officers found heroin in the front passenger seat area.

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