Security officer, 80, punched by man after telling him not to sleep on public bench in Bedok Central

Aqil Hamzah
The Straits Times
Sept 15, 2023

An 80-year-old security officer was punched in the face by a man while patrolling in Bedok, after he told the man that sleeping on public benches was not allowed.

The incident, which took place on Sunday, was recounted in a Facebook post by the Union of Security Employees (USE) on Friday.

It said Mr Kwek Moh Chai had been deployed in a public area in Bedok Central when he noticed a man sleeping on a public bench at about 2am.

“(He) duly informed the man, who obliged and left,” the post said.

However, as Mr Kwek continued patrolling, he saw the same man sleeping on a bench again and approached him a second time.

This time, the man spewed vulgarities before punching Mr Kwek in the face, resulting in him falling and breaking his spectacles.

Two people working at a nearby restaurant came to help Mr Kwek and restrained the man, as well as called the police, the USE post said.

The police confirmed that they were alerted to a case of assault along New Upper Changi Road at about 2.20am on Sunday. A 37-year-old man is assisting with investigations, the police said.

Mr Kwek had to be taken to hospital and was placed on medical leave, the union added.

Photos that USE shared in its Facebook post show bruising on the left side of Mr Kwek’s face, along with cuts.

Reiterating that security officers execute their duties under the Private Security Industry Act, the union said that its officers are deployed to “protect lives and properties”.

The Act was amended in 2022 to provide greater protection for officers, including enhanced penalties for offenders who intentionally cause harassment, alarm or distress, assault or use criminal force on and voluntarily hurt security officers. Those found guilty of intentionally harassing or causing alarm or distress to a security officer can be jailed for up to a year, fined up to $5,000, or both.

USE said there have been 23 abuse cases involving security officers between January and August, compared with 36 in the same period in 2022.

Most recently, a 44-year-old man was arrested after he allegedly punched a security supervisor at his condominium in Pasir Ris. Meanwhile, the 41-year-old security supervisor is also being investigated by the police for allegedly hurting the man’s 11-year-old son.

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