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VN2014
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In need of legal advice

Postby VN2014 » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 3:08 pm

Hi all,

I have been reading past posts here and I am very hopeful and happy to see the kind and amount of support the community gives here. I am wondering if I could ask for some valuable thoughts as well.

Long story short, I live with 1 flatmate, also female, in a small 2 bedroom house with a partition door between us and the owner's flat (they have access to our flat). Recently my flatmate had a male guest staying in her room for a couple of days. We have always been lax/careless about locking doors, etc because we felt pretty safe. A few weeks ago I come home shortly before the rest did to discover our combination-lock for gate was unlocked and so I asked my flatmate if anyone has been home during the day. We later on found out that my ring has gone missing, nothing from my flatmate but apparently money amounting to US$3,000+ from her male guest. So my flatmate and I went to the nearest police station to file a report.

When we got there, initially they didn't want to come over as they said we have contaminated the crime scene by touching everything (we were looking through all our stuff if we had more stuff missing) but we insisted that they come anyway.

The next day, an IO visited our flat and for the rest of the days the IO seemed to focus on me and constantly messaged and called me, all of which I have answered, thinking I would best cooperate as much as I could. Until one afternoon he asked me to drop by the station and there he said from being a victim I am now a suspect. He spent more than an hour forcing me to admit to the crime and threatened that he could throw me in lock-up and interrogate me more the next day. He even ask me if I would be willing to do a polygraph test to which I answered yet but also asked if I should already have a lawyer. Then he asked, why am I getting one, I'm not even being charged yet. Then after, he said he "accepts my explanation for now" and that I am ok to leave but warned me that "I am still a suspect" and for me to still be around when he needs me. He has been aware that I will be leaving the country for good.

I am Filipino (all of us in the flat are), with a good career and no priors whatsoever. I used to serve as a nun when I was young, for crying out loud. But because I have had financial problems concerning my family back home (medical) which started a few months back, I was the "most likely suspect" as they said. I did not do it. To be honest, I also can't get myself to think that my flatmate or her guest did it, as it really could have been anyone because have been very careless about locking our door, etc.

I was forced to get a lawyer after that incident because I was afraid that he would hold me and confiscate my passport. I was scheduled to leave end of this month for a new job in another country. During our initial talk with the lawyer, he has promised to settle it and make it disappear for me to clear my name before I leave the country to the tune of $4,000. I initially did not have that amount but we were willing to raise it with the help of family and friends.

Until now though, our lawyer has not drafted or anything yet and have told him not to pursue anymore and the keep the deposit that we have given him since we have had contact and discussions already. Reason is I will be leaving in less than a week and would like to just focus on moving forward and to be very honest, $4,000 is something I don't have, more so to spend on legal fees which I shouldn't need to begin with.

Very sorry for the long post but my question is, given that there are no charges, I am not on bail, I have not heard from the IO for weeks after that interview/interrogation and I am leaving in a few days, is this a wise decision? Is there anyway that the IO can submit his report, for me to have a charge and for them to ask me to return to Singapore to face them? Or is it possible for them to go ahead and blacklist me anyway?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Also, if you have questions or if anything is not clear, please do ask and I would be happy to answer them to help clarify.

Thank you so much.

PNGMK
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Postby PNGMK » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 4:08 pm

To be arrested in Singapore - you need to have committed a seizable offense. that has not happened. Furthermore it appears you've not been charged in either the police station or court as you've not had to post bail.

Frankly I'd leave Singapore AND THEN write a letter of complaint to the police commissioner cc'ing the Attorney general about the extremely poor behavior of this IO.

The IO's report will be (or should be) forward to the AGC anyways - and you need to rebutt it.

Forget your lawyer. He sounds like a turd. If you need an honest one PM me.

VN2014
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Postby VN2014 » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 5:53 pm

Hi PNGMK - thank you so much for your reply.

No, I don't think I was arrested - I didn't sign nor pay anything. He just told me before I left that I was still a suspect, he'll still need to talk to more people and gather evidence and to be available when he needs me.

I have actually drafted a letter of complaint to the commissioner but did not send it because the lawyer said that wasn't a good idea. I still want to do this though. Maybe if and when I've left Singapore.

What my lawyer initially said was for him to submit that letter of representation so the AGC will have both the IO's report and my letter, for them to have a fair look at the case. This letter has not happened yet.

Some questions about this: should he need to submit it? I have heard some cases where in "there is not enough evidence to proceed with the investigation" and it ends there. When he has submitted it, how do I know how and when to rebut it - would I be charged/need a lawyer then?

I'm really just worried that if I drop my lawyer now, and then this progresses when I'm out of Singapore already and may be too late for me to get representation when I should have "nipped it in the bud."

Apologies for the many questions.

Thank you again!

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Postby PNGMK » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:00 pm

If you leave Singapore instruct your lawyer to inform the police / AGC that he is the contact. He should then inform you if you are needed back in Singapore or charged in absentia.

VN2014
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Postby VN2014 » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:20 pm

Hi PNGMK - I was planning to let go of my lawyer for now and only get one if and when there are charges against me already. Is this a bad idea?

I was told by a former investigator that the IO working on my case do not have evidence against me that is why he could not hold me. Is it one of the cases that should be proven "beyond reasonable doubts"? Or IO's report is enough to charge me, if ever?

Thank you so much!

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Postby PNGMK » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:23 pm

VN2014 wrote:Hi PNGMK - I was planning to let go of my lawyer for now and only get one if and when there are charges against me already. Is this a bad idea?

I was told by a former investigator that the IO working on my case do not have evidence against me that is why he could not hold me. Is it one of the cases that should be proven "beyond reasonable doubts"? Or IO's report is enough to charge me, if ever?

Thank you so much!


The AGC makes the decision, not the IO.

You should ask your lawyer to do as I suggest and he should be able to do it without charge. Alternatively, once out of Singapore, inform ICA of your address change and that should be enough for the AGC/IO to find you if need be.

I should add that the IO's method of trying to force a confession seems to the extent of the SPF investigative ability at times :( - they'll never actually find the real thief
Last edited by PNGMK on Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

VN2014
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Postby VN2014 » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:26 pm

Thank you so much!! The IO has always known when I was supposed to leave and where. I have advised him again recently though that I will be leaving the country soon and my contacts are the same for updates. He has not responded yet. He likes making me wait for days for answers.

Just like during my interrogation. My fiance said he saw the IO just standing outside the door, looking at me and making wait, while I thought he "just went out to get something." I guess another tactic to make me feel nervous.

He has used both threatening me and offering me a "lighter/speedier process" if I just admit to it. He has made me "convince him" that I didn't do it over and over. He said he could throw me in lock-up if I don't admit it. I said then go ahead because I really don't know what you want me to say except that I didn't do it.

I can't send PMs yet but I would greatly appreciate having another lawyer contact, if you have one. Thanks again!
Last edited by VN2014 on Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PNGMK
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Postby PNGMK » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:36 pm

One more post and you can PM.

VN2014
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Postby VN2014 » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:37 pm

Oh? Like this? Let me try after this. Thanks!

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Postby PNGMK » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:38 pm

VN2014 wrote:Thank you so much!! The IO has always known when I was supposed to leave and where. I have advised him again recently though that I will be leaving the country soon and my contacts are the same for updates. He has not responded yet. He likes making me wait for days for answers.

Just like during my interrogation. My fiance said he saw the IO just standing outside the door, looking at me and making wait, while I thought he "just went out to get something." I guess another tactic to make me feel nervous.

He has used both threatening me and offering me a "lighter/speedier process" if I just admit to it. He has made me "convince him" that I didn't do it over and over. He said he could throw me in lock-up if I don't admit it. I said then go ahead because I really don't know what you want me to say except that I didn't do it.

I can't send PMs yet but I would greatly appreciate having another lawyer contact, if you have one. Thanks again!


He sounds like a completely power hungry copper and probably a bigot to boot.

VN2014
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Postby VN2014 » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:42 pm

It really felt that way and I have never gone through anything like that before.

I really want to complain about him but I was advised that that kind of treatment was "normal" here in Singapore :(

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Postby PNGMK » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 6:54 pm

VN2014 wrote:It really felt that way and I have never gone through anything like that before.

I really want to complain about him but I was advised that that kind of treatment was "normal" here in Singapore :(


Well there is a lesson here. Never, ever get the police involved in something that isn't actually death or rape, (and even then, if I could be assured of getting away with it, I would take care of the matter myself). I learnt a long time ago that the police are not your friend nor your legal advisor. I detest kid's story books that paint the cops as heroes when so often they are the normal average citizen's adversary.

VN2014
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Postby VN2014 » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 7:23 pm

Definitely. We thought - because our gate lock was unlocked when I came home, I lost a ring and my flatmate's guest lost money, the only logical thing to do is call the police. Lesson learned indeed. I felt like an idiot cooperating with him the few days after only to find out he was already questioning me as a suspect.

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Postby martincymru » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 7:42 pm

"money amounting to US$3,000+ from her male guest...."

please tell us the story of this individual

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 22 Apr 2014 7:43 pm

You did it right and you had no other choice but to go to the police. Imagine how big suspect you would be right now if you didn't do so and your flat mate /her guest did.

Please file a complaint against that IO. If this is his standard way and people dare to complain he will get eventually what he deserves.


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