Crime 'rife' in Geylang

SINGAPORE - Geylang is a hot spot of illegal gambling, street cons, contraband cigarette peddling and drug dealing, Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee told the Committee of Inquiry hearings into the Little India riot last Tuesday.

"Today, despite the riot in Little India, I worry more for Geylang than about Serangoon Road," he said.

Mr Ng noted the "overt hostility and antagonism towards the police" in Geylang, all of which make the district "a potential powder keg".

"It is common knowledge that the gangsters and the crooks like to congregate in Geylang. So all in all, Geylang presents an ecosystem which is complex, which is tinged with a certain criminal undertone, and this is quite in contrast with Little India, although Little India also has changed," he said.

Policing Geylang, he said, is challenging.

"We pay a lot of attention to Geylang and we devote a disproportionate amount of police resources to keep it orderly and relatively crime-free. Unlike Little India, all the indications of potential trouble are there in Geylang.

"Crime numbers are high and disproportionately so, and crimes of particular concern like robbery, rioting and affray remain persistent and always threaten to run away."

Last year, there were 49 cases of rioting, assault and affray in Geylang, compared to 25 in Little India.

According to Mr Ng, police deployment in Geylang routinely reach a peak of more than 60 officers acting in different capacities.

On Fridays and weekend nights, when Geylang is at its busiest, the police devote five fast-response cars - compared to three for Little India - for incident management and presence there.

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