Handsome cop in standee and video says strangers don't recognise him

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".

Yesterday, a new anti-crime campaign video featuring the handsome but stern-looking cop was released on the Singapore Police Force's Facebook page, attracting more than 300,000 views.

The video shows how various members of public can use the "hand sign" adopted by the standee to prevent shop theft from occurring in various types of shops.

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

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

When asked, ASP Koh, 32 , was reluctant to give more details about his personal life.

His standees have been placed outside various retail outlets islandwide since April last year as part of police 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 involved in the Singapore Police Force (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 unaffected 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 public.

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, the SPF pushed out a Chinese New Year crime prevention video on its social media platforms yesterday featuring ASP Koh.

But netizens still want more.

On one of his memes found 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 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 was first published on Feb 16, 2015.
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