Suspects can't hide for long, say experts

Soc Leon Motor Works, located at Autobay @ Kaki Bukit, was owned by 67-year-old Mr Tan Boon Sin, who was murdered on Wednesday.

SINGAPORE - The suspect or suspects behind the Kovan double murders will be caught "in a matter of days", former police commanders and detectives confidently predicted on Thursday.

Singapore's small size, tight border controls and advanced police forensics and detection technologies mean any fugitive would find it "near impossible to escape", they said.

While they might try to seek refuge, officers would already be tracing their identity and family while most hotels would demand a credit card and ID.

"They will probably be caught within three days, and at the longest, seven," said chief executive of security consultancy Soverus, Mr Paul Lim, who held senior posts in the Criminal Investigation Department and as commander of Tanglin Police Division. He said it was likely that the police had identified the suspects.

"Singapore is a very small place, (the fugitive's) options are very limited," added a co-founder of Knight Intelligence and Forensics, an ex-detective of 16 years who wanted to remain anonymous. "It is very hard to stay undetected in Singapore."

Police are likely to be covering all land, air and sea exit routes, experts said. "We are as tight as we can practically get," said Mr Lim. "There are many passive and active systems in place 24/7 just to detect unwanted entries and exits."

But memories remain of Jemaah Islamiah terrorist Mas Selamat's escape to Malaysia in 2008 - in disguise - after relatives sheltered him.

In 2004, the three-week hunt for eight-year-old Huang Na's killer ended in success only after he had fled across the Causeway to Malaysia.

Ex-CID veteran detective Lionel De Souza said the police would "definitely have a sense of urgency" to solve this crime.