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Singapore has world’s most enthusiastic police force

Singapore has world’s most enthusiastic police force

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Sure, its citizens love the police for keeping the country safe. But some of their actions come across as… bizarre.

Photo: DAVE CONNER / Creative Commons

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Police Force (SPF),  responsible for making Singapore a low-crime country (to the extent that it has to remind citizens that crime still happens in the little island), must be rubbing their hands in glee.

Lately, they’ve received press coverage on the scale of a publicists’s wet dream.

First, this Times of India report said that Google has ranked Singapore number one in the world per capita in terms of demanding that the Internet giant release certain information on individuals deemed criminal.

The question is: If Singapore is so crime-free, how come there are so many requests?

But nevermind. Google has said that they will comply as long as the authorities are following the rule of law in demanding information. Sounds reasonable? Wait till you hear this: Because Singapore has such a buffet spread of highly subjective and interpretive laws that restrict freedom of speech, any word perceived as mildly seditious could result in a hefty jail term and fine.

Which makes me wonder: How many of these people the police were checking up on really “criminals”. Or were they activists, politicans, and NGO workers?

Fortunately for most Singaporeans, their bark is often worse than their bite. But not if you’re a parking offender.

It’s stupid to skip an appointment in court just because you don’t want to pay your parking fines, sure. But, according to this report, the SPF decided to send out “30 police officers, several sniffer dogs, five police cars and four red Special Operations Command riot vehicles” to hunt the guy down.

Either the policemen must be really bored, or they know more than they’re letting on. Suicide bomber, maybe?

That’s not all.

In 2009, when a bunch of graffiti artists decided to spray some art on Singapore’s few LEGAL graffiti walls for the Palestinian cause, the authorities forbade them. Plain-clothed policemen even stationed themselves near the walls to ensure the rascals obey the government.

And two years before that, this local blogger documented that police took down information and videotaped a protest happening right in the heart of Orchard Road — involving Ultraman figurines.

Ludicrous as it sounds, Singapore is no China. But as much as I like a safe city, I sure am not appreciative of them policemen (and women) poking up the asses of upright citizens.

Go figure.

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