Few recognise 'yan dao' cop in the flesh

Few recognise 'yan dao' cop in the flesh

He is the face of more than 800 anti-shop-theft standees islandwide, and the subject of countless Internet memes.

Netizens have even given him the nickname "Yan Dao (handsome in Hokkien) Policeman".

On Sunday, a new anti-crime video featuring the handsome but stern-looking cop was released on the Singapore Police Force's (SPF's) Facebook page, attracting more than 500,000 views.

The video shows how members of the public can use the gesture adopted by the standee to prevent shop theft in various establishments.

It ends with the man from the standee, Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Ryan Koh, arresting a thief. There is also a short song highlighting that shop theft is a crime.

ASP Koh, whose interest in fighting crime began when he joined the National Police Cadet Corps in secondary school, is an investigation officer in the Criminal Investigation Department and has been with the force for five years.

When asked, the 32-year-old was reluctant to give more details about his personal life.

His standees have been placed outside retail outlets islandwide since April, as part of efforts to tackle shop theft.

Not surprisingly, he has been teased by relatives and friends, who send him updates when his standee appears in new memes on the Internet.

ASP Koh, who was also involved in the SPF's "More Than Just A Job" recruitment ad campaign, thought the standee was a "new and unconventional method" of spreading the crime prevention message.

He remains unfazed by the Internet buzz, but added: "As long as the attention it gets can be channelled towards the crime prevention message or even towards recruitment efforts, it's a good thing for the organisation."

Despite the fact that the standees are found in many places, many people do not recognise ASP Koh when they see him in person.

He said he has even bought items next to his standee at shops - without the cashier recognising him.

He said: "I initially thought strangers would recognise me, but none of that has happened. Maybe it's because I don't wear the peaked hat and do that (stern) expression all the time."

Riding on the standee's online popularity, SPF pushed out the Chinese New Year crime prevention video featuring ASP Koh on its social media platforms on Sunday.

But netizens still want more. On one of his memes on spoof site SGAG, a Facebook comment from Xinrong Ye read: "Singapore Police Force should consider letting him host Crimewatch. Ratings sure very high!"

Dasharupa Naidu added: "Yan Dao is the best. Should probably get his own anime and manga series."

Despite the attention, ASP Koh counts it as part of his duty as a policeman.

He said: "If I'm called upon to do it for the police force, I am more than willing. It's a privilege to be selected, to take part in such an initiative to spread the crime prevention message."

This article by The New Paper was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.


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