Thursday, 23 January 2014

Serious Security Lapse At ICA Checkpoint

Update 8 Mar 2014:
Another Woodlands Checkpoint breach, this time involving a gold Mercedes

A video uploaded onto Facebook this evening showed footage of a gold Mercedes breaching the Woodlands checkpoint barrier.

The incident occurred at around 4pm today. The gold Mercedes is a Singapore-registered vehicle that arrived from Malaysia.

After clearing the immigration check and undergoing customs checks, the driver of the Mercedes deliberately drove off.

Charges against Malaysian teacher dropped

The charges against Malaysian teacher Nurul Rohana Ishak, who was caught after she slipped past immigration officers at Woodlands Checkpoint, were withdrawn by the prosecution on Friday on account of her mental illness.

The 27-year-old was instead issued with a conditional warning not to commit similar offences again in the future. The court heard on Friday that she has accepted the warning.

She was initially facing three charges: Criminal trespass, failing to present her passport for examination, and failing to stop her vehicle. A psychiatric assessment on Feb 21, however, had found her to be suffering from schizophrenia and unfit to make a plea.

Alleged MFA trespasser faces two more charges

The Malaysian accused of trespassing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) at Sherwood Road on January 20 is facing two additional charges.

Besides criminal trespass, Nurul Rohana Ishak has been charged with committing two immigration offences.

The 27-year-old teacher is accused of failing to present her Malaysian passport to the authorities at Woodlands Checkpoint before entering Singapore on January 17.

Causeway breach: Where does the buck stop?

It appears that the easiest way out is to punish frontline officers who make mistakes. Take the recent serious lapse in border security which allowed a Malaysian woman to enter Singapore illegally and only got arrested three days later.

After giving an account of how unacceptable errors and poor judgement led to the security breach, DPM and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean told Parliament “they have apologised”. This apology was presumably made by the Commissioner of ICA and Commissioner of Police, to whom DPM Teo had expressed his unhappiness.

Apologise to whom? That was not made clear. We can only presume that they apologised to their boss, DPM Teo. Meanwhile, the frontline officers responsible have been redeployed pending disciplinary proceedings.

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DPM Teo: It was serious error of judgment

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and police ground commanders made a serious error of judgment in deciding to treat this intrusion as a less serious immigration offence instead of a serious breach of border security as required in the protocol.

This was a major reason for the subsequent inadequate response which resulted in the vehicle and driver not being detected and arrested much earlier. Both ground commanders have been redeployed to non-operational posts pending disciplinary action.

Their supervising officers overseeing operations should also have realised this and acted to rectify the situation. They will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary action, along with other officers involved in the incident.

In Singapore, the Mysterious Case of a Border-Security Breach

People look at the Singapore skyline from the skybridge of a public housing estate. A recent border-security breach has stirred concerns about shoddy policing in the orderly, low-crime city-state

A Malaysian motorist breached Singapore border security and eluded police for three days before being arrested this week while trespassing the city-state’s foreign ministry headquarters, in what officials described as a serious security lapse.

The incident drew opprobrium from government officials and citizens alike, and many Singaporeans have taken to social media to criticize what they perceive as shoddy policing in a country long reputed for orderliness and low crime.

Immigration and police officials have acknowledged shortcomings and pledged to remedy them.

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Checkpoint breach should have been dealt with "more urgently and decisively"

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has expressed his dissatisfaction over the security breach at Woodlands Checkpoint as well as the subsequent response actions.

The Police and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Tuesday that a 27-year-old Malaysian woman, with a history of mental illness, had been arrested at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) for criminal trespass.

The woman had entered Singapore via Woodlands Checkpoint in a Malaysian-registered car last Friday (January 17), and managed to leave the checkpoint without being stopped as officers-in-charge did not immediately raise the alarm.

related: Alleged MFA trespasser charged, remanded for psychiatric assessment

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Teo unhappy about security breach by mentally-ill M’sian

DPM Teo Chee Hean is not happy about a security breach at Woodlands Checkpoint as well as the authorities’ subsequent response

A Malaysian woman, 27, said to have a history of mental illness, entered Singapore in a Malaysian-registered car on 17 January 2014 through the Woodlands Checkpoint at about 1.58pm.

About 2 minutes later, she left the checkpoint without being stopped as the officers-in-charge did not immediately raise the alarm. By the time the alarm was raised, the woman and her car could not be located.

3 days later on 20 January, the woman headed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) at Sherwood Road, where she apparently tail-gated a car to enter the premises. She was immediately arrested for criminal trespass.

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Trespass incident: MPs call for review of border security

Urging the authorities to review and step up border security, Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday expressed shock and disappointment at the recent breach at the Woodlands Checkpoint, which saw a Malaysian woman drive into Singapore, evade immigration clearance and stay here for three days before she was arrested for trespassing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The woman, who has been named by the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Ministry as 28-year-old Nurul Ruhana Binti Ishak from Kedah, has been charged with criminal trespass and has been remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for psychiatric evaluation, the police said.

MPs on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law whom TODAY spoke to called for an inquiry into the series of lapses, pointing out that many questions remain unanswered. They also stressed the importance of having a “watertight” border as a critical line of defence against threats to national security.

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MFA trespasser slips past ICA checkpoint in serious lapse in security
Trespass incident: MPs call for review of border security

In what has been described as a very serious lapse in border security, a 27-year-old Malaysian woman drove past the Woodlands Checkpoint last Friday afternoon in a Malaysia-registered red Perodua without being stopped by the immigration authorities and gave them the slip despite a lockdown of the car arrival zone.

Three days later, police officers failed to recognise the woman or her car despite an islandwide alert, when they encountered her while helping a taxi driver whom she tailgated all the way to the Police Cantonment Complex. Barely an hour later on the same day, the woman drove her car into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Sherwood Road premises and drove around the compound without authorisation, after slipping past the security post by tailgating a vehicle in front.

She was stopped when her car was boxed in by two vehicles driven by MFA security officers.

Trespass incident: MPs call for review of border security
MFA trespass: Officers at Woodlands Checkpoint ‘did not immediately raise alarm’
Alleged MFA trespasser was driving Malaysia-registered vehicle
Checkpoint breach should have been dealt with ‘more urgently and decisively’: DPM Teo

M'sian teacher charged with criminal trespass in S'pore has history of mental illness: Aunt

The 28-year-old Malaysian school teacher, Nurul Ruhana Ishak, charged with criminal trespass in Singapore has a long history of mental illness, said  a relative. -- PHOTO: THE STAR

Quoting her aunt, Madam Hanifah Che Pi, Malaysian paper The Star reported on Friday that Nurul Ruhana Ishak had to be on medication constantly or she would suffer from depression.

Nurul is the eldest of five siblings from Pendang, in Kedah state, and suffered from depression in school and during her university years. Despite her illness, she graduated as a teacher from Universiti Sains Malaysia in 2010.

She was arrested on Monday in the compound of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is being remanded at the Institute of Mental Health. Said Ms Hanifah, a housewife: "When she is ill, she becomes quiet and has to be spoonfed, but when she is feeling alright, she is a sweet and intelligent girl."

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M'sian High Commission in S'pore assisting alleged MFA trespasser

Malaysia's Minister of Foreign Affairs has identified the Malaysian woman who crashed through the security barrier at Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

She is 28-year-old Nurul Ruhana Ishak from Pendang, Kampung Bahru in Kedah.

According to a statement from the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister, officers from the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore had taken immediate action in establishing contact with Nurul Ruhana.

Alleged MFA trespasser entered Singapore illegally on Jan 17
Tailgating trespasser at Foreign Ministry arrested

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Malaysia releases identity of female driver in MFA trespass case

The Malaysian woman was finally found within the MFA compounds off Holland Road. (Photo: Google Street View)
Yahoo Newsroom - The Malaysian woman was finally found within the MFA compounds off Holland Road. (Photo: Google Street View)

Despite a police islandwide advisory to look out for the woman and her car, she was only arrested three days later on Monday afternoon.

Today newspaper reported that police officers initally failed to recognise the woman or her car despite the islandwide alert, when they encountered her while helping a taxi driver whom she tailgated all the way into the Police Cantonment Complex.

She was finally arrested an hour later when she had entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs front gate off Holland Road by once again tailgating an authorised vehicle. She was driving around the compound for a few minutes before MFA security officers cornered her car, local media reported

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Vigilance Fail: Malaysian woman in red Perodua slips past Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs guard post in broad daylight

If you calculate the success rate of Singapore's security forces at the Woodlands Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Checkpoint, a lapse of one vehicle per 50 million or so vehicles per year is an infinitesimally small figure.

But in the eyes of Singapore's security watchers, every lapse is one lapse too many.

From the look of things, the book is going to be thrown at Home Team officers after a vigilance failure by our border guards allegedly resulted in a Malaysian woman ending up in the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) compound on Monday in broad daylight.

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Could Have Been Worse

When Low Thia Khiang asked Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean why the Special Operations Command (SOC) took one hour to arrive at the scene, Teo could only utter a lame "certain response time was required."  For 19 whole minutes, the SOC sat around and twiddled their thumbs while Little India burned. And when it was finally activated at 10.04 pm, the SOC clowns managed a snail's pace to reach the site at 10.42 pm - probably hoping that all the nasties would have disappeared into the night by then.

Mas Selamat must be ROTFL in his detention cell - he might just beat Chia Thye Poh's record for being detained without trial. But Selamat's Houdini-style evasion was easily outclassed by one female who really made mockery of the highly decorated Keystone Kops. The chronology of how she led the clownish cops on a merry-go-round.

Teo's response was predictable: "the breach could have had more serious consequences". Obviously not serious enough to send the Commissioner of ICA and the Commissioner of Police to the woodshed. Russian security officials are now busy hunting down three black widows, and one of the potential suicide bombers has already entered Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics. Let's hope none of the other ladies are heading this way.

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No sane person can breach our checkpoint security

With the tight security checks at our checkpoints, particularly at Woodlands and Tuas, it is insane for anyone to think of slipping through the checks and getting away. It could be done by foot as proven by a Took. But to get across in a vehicle is unimaginable

Well, a Malaysian woman motorist did just that and was lost in our concrete jungle for 3 days. Our network of cameras also failed to locate her despite an island wide alert. She was only caught when she did another tailgating job into the Ministry of Foreign Affair, intentionally I supposed, to prove something.

Why she did that is still puzzling. It seems that she was trying to prove to the security officers that she could do what she like and there is no way for them to trace her unless she offered herself, like driving into the MFA compound voluntarily.

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The female motorist at the centre of two security intrusions here has been charged with criminal trespass and remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for a psychiatric assessment, said the police on Wednesday, reports The Straits Times.

The 27-year-old Malaysian woman, said to have a history of mental illness, was arrested on Monday in her red Perodua hatchback after she had driven into the compound of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

She had apparently sneaked into Singapore at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Friday and given police the slip for three days before she was finally nabbed in the grounds of the MFA, located off Holland Road.

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Trepassing and Trespasses

The Home Team is tripping over itself with the latest incident of a Malaysian woman who illegally crossed immigration at Woodlands last week without being stopped as she tailgated a car into Singapore. The alarm was raised too late and she sped out of  the lock-down zone and into Singapore. It was only when she tailgated a car again into MFA when the alert security managed to detain her before she made her escape. Credit to the security at MFA, and immense disappointment at the ICA officers who allowed her to enter Singapore illegally, brazenly and openly. I would be understanding if the car crashed through  the barriers in a Jason Bourne-style incursion. By all accounts she drove into Singapore quite easily. ICA should release the video footage of the incursion if there is any.

This followed another incident, another trespass or transgression, which placed the Home Team in a controversial if not negative light. I’m not talking about the response time of the police reinforcements debated in parliament as I think that is not the issue – it is never fast enough for armchair critics who forget what it was like to be deployed and run around in heavy gear in NS in a fog of war scenario. The temporary bill to allow police officers to strip search persons for alcohol in Little India and allow a place to be raided without a warrant is another draconian measure after the Little India riot.

Residents in the area might feel safer with the crackdown on drinking but wasn’t the alcohol ban enough and excessive in the first place already? Alcohol-free and no public drinking zones are common in certain cities in Western countries. It does not prevent drunken louts from attacking people and property but I can understand its symbolic assurances to the residents albeit businesses would be mad. Hence, the temporary implementation in Little India, a balance of business and residents’ interests. However, this strip search and quasi police state-like powers in a limited area although short term is unnerving.

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Third Security Breach At Woodlands Checkpoint
Second security breach at Woodlands in two months
Serious Security Lapse At ICA Checkpoint
'High security' Woodlands Checkpoint security breach on 8 March 2014