Heroic yet humble police officer who jumped into canal to arrest man: "It's a team effort"

Sergeant (Sgt) Desmond Heng, 25, a police officer with Rochor Neighbourhood Centre (NPC), arrested a man in Rochor Canal on Saturday (Sep 29).

As reported in an earlier Stomp article, a 26-year-old man had fled a church after he allegedly molested a female worshipper in Our Lady of Lourdes Church at Ophir Road.

The man had jumped into a drain and made his way through a tunnel before coming out of a water hole into Rochor Canal, where he was subsequently arrested by Sgt Heng and his team.

Sgt Heng first arrived at the scene with team leader Inspector Ishak Bin Mohali along with team mates Sgt Caleb Kok, Sgt (Voluntary Special Constable) Sharon Ang, Sgt Melissa Lou, Special Constable/Sergeant Chong Zhe Ming at about 2pm.

They were called in by Sgt Lee Zheng Biao and Sgt Sam Ruo Hui as reinforcement after the pair, who were dispatched to the location by a call at about 1.30pm, found the man lying face up with blood around his chin area in a drain.

He apparently smelled of alcohol and appeared to be drunk.

The man then walked towards the Rochor Canal entrance and swam underneath the tunnel into Rochor Canal while ignoring instructions from officers.

This was when the instruction was given to Sgt Heng by Inspector Ishak to enter the water and arrest the man while the rest of the team kept an eye on the suspect.

(Story continues after video)

Many have come online to applaud Sgt Heng for his actions.

When asked by Stomp what his first reaction was upon finding out that many people have gone online to praise him, Sgt Heng said:

"I would like to emphasise that this was a team effort, and we all had a part to play in this arrest."

Team leader Inspector Ishak said: "My first thought upon seeing the man in the water was his safety and that I need to help him."

"He kept stumbling and submerging into the water.

"I was afraid he was not capable to take care of himself, especially in the water.

"Desmond responded confidently when I gave the instruction to go into the water and arrest the man," said Inspector Ishak.

"Our team leader discussed a rescue approach with the team, and it was assessed that Desmond and myself would move in to rescue the subject," said 24-year-old Sgt Caleb Kok.

Sgt Kok engaged the man by throwing him a life buoy from dry land while Sgt Heng proceeded to descend into the canal.

Sgt Heng said: "I can do well in water and saw that the man was half my body weight.

"The whole time I was in the water, I was focused on locating him because there were times where I lost sight of him while swimming towards him.

"My main thought was to quickly find him and bring him up.

"At the same time as I was swimming, my team mates were engaging him and calling out to him in an effort to hold him in place.

"This was my first time having to enter water to arrest a suspect.

"He was hysterical at the start but there wasn't much of a struggle."

Sgt Heng then added that he did not remove his uniform and boots when entering the water for safety and to let the man know that he was a police officer.

A total of eight officers from Rochor NPC were at the scene to arrest the man.