'Suspect would beg to be let off'

'Suspect would beg to be let off'
PROMOTED: ICA officer Jack Sim, who was still an inspector when this photo was taken, is now an assistant superintendent.

SINGAPORE - Growing up, he was not one of those children who hung out at canals.

But now as a 47-year-old, he does it often.

In his job with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), newly promoted Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Jack Sim has had to jump into canals to locate and chase after illegal immigrants and overstayers.

Indeed, he has searched so many canals during raids in the last 11 years with the ICA's intelligence division that he has actually lost count.

He has been with the ICA for 17½ years.

ASP Sim, who is stationed at Woodlands Checkpoint, was among 5,500 Home Team officers promoted last month.

He was an inspector before the promotion. In his previous role, he was a field officer with the intelligence division and was in charge of raids.

He said: "We had raids in different terrains like canals and woody areas and we have three teams to cover the whole of Singapore."


The first time he had to do so, ASP Sim was excited and what surprised him was that most suspects did not try to put up a struggle when arrested.

Indeed, suspects have even knelt in front of him, begging to be let off.

Others would offer him a bribe.

"Many of these people claim to have been cheated by agents back in their countries," ASP Sim said.

"But we have no choice... We have to make sure Singapore is safe for everyone," he said.

The problem of overstayers and illegal immigrants still plagues Singapore.

The New Paper ran a report (above) last Monday on a possible secret colony of foreign workers in a canal in Bukit Panjang.

There was one particular raid which left a lasting impression on ASP Sim.

He had just arrested a man in a canal and taken him back to headquarters for questioning.

Later, he noticed that the suspect was pale. The man went for a medical check-up where it was revealed that he was HIV positive. ASP Sim felt that the episode shows the dire straits some suspects can be in.

And on his promotion, he said: "All my hard work has paid off and this department gives us recognition. I'm honoured, even though this means I'll be shouldering more responsibilities."

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This article was first published on June 2, 2014.
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