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Our police, the sex worker bully?

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This is what your taxpayers money are put to: groups of armed men terrorizing women”.

As a former police NSF and resident of the affected neighbourhood, I felt an obligation to call out Vanessa Ho’s biased criticism against the police for conducting a raid on an unlicensed brothel (read more). While it is the writer’s prerogative to champion the rights of sex workers, it reeks of sheer hypocrisy to harshly put down the police who were simply doing their job to protect the rights of the residents – the right to live safely from vice and shady influence. 

Living in Jalan Besar for over 25 years, I have personally witnessed the effects of vice setting roots here. Discreet business in dimly lit shop-house evolved to blatant solicitation as children hang around at playgrounds. While some residents could turn a blind eye to the dark trade taking place within private confines, a sense of unease pervaded the neighbourhood when men of questionable background started loitering around to act as lookouts. By wearing masks to conduct the raids, the officers were protecting themselves from possible reprisals by men behind the business. Are police officers entitled to lesser rights to safety than the sex workers and residents whom they are protecting? 

Throughout my 2-year NS stint with the police, I had experienced the challenges facing the police. Blames were laid out on the police when valuables were misplaced by negligent owners. Officers assumed the role of punching bag in attending to rowdy drunkards. Scratches and bruises were sustained when intervening in domestic disputes or effecting arrest. Fairly or unfairly, our police are often at the receiving end of shame and blame. But to go as far as Vanessa Ho did in making serious but unsubstantiated allegations against the officers – that officers patronised the illegal sex trade; firearm was pointed against an unarmed sexual worker – is doing a great disservice to justice which Vanessa Ho herself claimed to be fighting for. Vanessa Ho had conveniently withdrawn her irresponsible post without posting any clarification on her accusations against the police. Would Vanessa Ho back up her comments with evidence, or offer an apology if they were untrue? 

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Damn if they do, damn if they don’t. The adage couldn’t be truer for our men in blue.

Reader contribution by Bryan Lim

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