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An urgent plea for review: Challenging police practices in child custody disputes

A father, after winning a court ruling, appeals to Singapore’s PM and ministers to review Singapore Police Force’s “Snatch First, Check Later” practice, detailing distressful experiences of his daughter being taken by police due to false alarms.



Below is a letter written by a father who recently won a ruling from the Court of Three Judges. This ruling overturned a previous decision by a High Court judge that revoked his care and control of his daughter, which had originally been granted to him. As a result of the mother’s campaign while the daughter was in her care, he was alienated from the child.

This letter was sent to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the Minister for Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam, leaders of the Workers’ Party and Progress Singapore Party, and members of the press. A query sent to the Singapore Police Force, copied to Mr Shanmugam, had not received a response at the time of this letter’s publication.

Dear Honorable Prime Minister and Ministers,

I am reaching out to you with an urgent plea to review the current practice of “Swatting” or “Snatch First, Check Later” of children from their parents by the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

I am writing as a very concerned Father who has had the unfortunate experience of having my daughter forcefully taken away by SPF on two occasions due to false 999 calls that were made against me. I seek your help and support to stop this practice to prevent any future occurrence of such scenarios to protect my daughter’s mental wellbeing.

This practice is not only very distressful and traumatic but also leaves a lifetime of psychological damage for a child/adult. Aligning with the government’s recent focus on the mental health of Singaporeans as a priority, I sincerely urge an urgent review of the procedures and protocols of the SPF’s practice.

This is not the first time that I have written in and had been informed twice by SPF that they will not be responding to me anymore.

The nonchalant response from SPF proves the obvious disregard on their part to understand the level of harm and damage done and thus, I need to seek awareness from the media and parties of interest, which I’ve also copied in this email.

For easier and more direct reference of the background facts, please refer to the Straits Times article dated 07 Feb 2024 in which I’m the Father referred to.

The written grounds of the decision by the Court of 3 Judges can be referred to:

Incident 1 (Daughter at 9 years old)

On 9 November 2021, after failing to persuade my daughter’s school not to release her to me by lying to the school that a “Police Mandate” was issued against me by SPF, a false 999 call was made alleging that my daughter is currently in immediate danger and a claim of a SOS message was activated by my daughter while we were having lunch at a public cafe. (note: the SOS message was never produced)

While we were having lunch, my daughter requested to use the restroom. I brought her to the restroom and asked a staff member of the cafe to accompany her in.

While she was in the restroom, two Police Officers suddenly ran into the cafe and assisted my ex-wife to snatch my daughter out of the cafe. I was body-blocked by a Police Officer during the process.

My daughter was visibly shell-shocked by this sudden act and was crying nonstop.

I was then escorted to my vehicle by a Police Officer in public view to retrieve the court order for the custodian rights for my daughter. I was not allowed by the Police Officers near my daughter or to talk to her.

After verifying that I was the legal custodian and was legally allowed to be with my daughter, the Police Officers informed me that they did not want to be involved with my “Domestic Issues” and threatened to arrest me if I insisted on my legal custodian rights.

I was informed of the following by SPF:

(1) The Police Officers have no time to assess the situation due to the urgency of the 999 call as my daughter’s safety is at stake.

(2) My daughter refused to return to me, and they cannot force her.

(3) This is a family domestic issue which the Police do not want to get involved in, I have to personally seek assistance from the Family Justice Courts.

In my response to SPF, I had provided the following information:

(1) The Police Officers refused my request to check the CCTV in the cafe or to check with the present diners if my daughter was indeed in any danger.

(2);I had managed to gather evidence that the whole operation was actually pre-planned with specific instructions given to my daughter through her smartwatch to go to the restroom, allowing the Police Officers to swoop in and snatch my daughter (with an added advantage of an element of surprise without any resistance from me). This evidence contradicts the SPF’s reasoning that they have no time to assess the situation.

(3) The whole “swatting” process had definitely scared my daughter and with the Police Officers threatening to arrest me in front of my daughter, it’s not a surprise she does not want to return to me.

I had submitted a voice recording with legal transcripts of the conversations between my daughter and me before the Police Officers conducted this act against me to prove sufficiently that my daughter was safe and not in any harm or danger.

I had filed a Magistrate’s complaint as there were no follow ups from the SPF; in which the Magistrate had directed SPF to open an investigation of this incident. However, the investigation and Magistrate’s complaint was eventually dismissed by the SPF without any interviews or statements-taking from me. It is rather appalling that SPF seem to take a lackadaisical attitude in their investigation process/efforts.

SPF subsequently wrote to me that they will not be responding to my emails when I tried to follow up.

Incident 2 (Daughter at 11 years old)

On 10th April 2023, 3 months after my daughter was returned to my care from an order from the Family Justice Courts (and 3 weeks prior to my ex wife’s appeal to the High Court hearing) – a false 999 call was made again while my daughter was at home and I was out at work, the call was made alleging that my daughter is attempting suicide.

Five Police Officers came to my residence and took my daughter to KK Hospital for assessments.

They refused my request to wait for my return and brought my daughter to a waiting ambulance with my ex-wife waiting in tow.

I spoke to the Police Officer on the phone while I was rushing home and informed him that there was a previous incident of a false 999 call made against me.

I requested him to call back his Police Division to check with the IO in charge. The Police Officer refused my request and informed me he did not know the IO and the phone number despite them being from the same Division.

As I was making my way back home, a Police Officer threatened my household member that I would be arrested if I insisted on my custodian rights (once again – in the presence of my daughter).

My daughter was in the ambulance with my ex-wife when I came back, and I was not allowed to see my daughter.

I produced my court order, but the Police Officers refused to read it.

I requested for the Police Officers to call and understand the dynamics of my situation with the Child Protection Officer who had been following my case for more than one year, and again, my request was rejected by them.

I was eventually allowed to see my daughter before the ambulance left for the hospital but was not allowed to accompany her.

Following this, I requested to talk to the IO in charge and when he eventually called me back after my daughter was admitted, I was told that SPF has the right to detain my daughter under the Mental Health Act.

I had emailed to SPF footage from my residence’s CCTV of the Police Officers threatening my arrest and that my daughter was accompanied by an adult when the Police Officers arrived at my residence to prove that there was no suicidal attempt.

I had requested to meet a representative from SPF to resolve this issue, and I was then informed by SPF that they will no longer be responding to my emails.

I hope you are able to share my views that not all 999 calls are genuine calls.

From my 2 experiences, SPF has a procedure of “Snatch first, Check Later” which is psychologically detrimental for anybody, especially for a young child.

The psychological harm and trauma of being forcefully taken away from a parent and seeing her father being threatened arrest twice by Police Officers will leave a lifelong stigma in my daughter’s memories.

While I understand that all 999 calls must be taken seriously as “safety” is at stake, it is very difficult to understand how the Officers are able to assess situations when they refuse to read court orders, check with the witnesses/CCTVs that are on the scene or check in with officials that understand the history and dynamics of my case.

It is very important that background facts and available resources be crucial for how the Officers make their assessments and not be overly hasty to judge or jump to conclusions due to gender biasness.

For both incidents, it’s proven that I had done nothing wrong but yet, I was still threatened with arrest when I was only insisting on my legal custodian rights? There were also threats to arrest me even though I was not present at the scene during the 2nd incident?

The lack of empathy is very alarming, I was already in a very distressed state while rushing home out of concern for my daughter. It was further made worse when I received a call from my household that I might be arrested when I return.

It’s also very shocking that the Police Officer does not know the phone number to his own Police Division that he’s attached to. The SPF needs to ensure its ground response team is able to contact their own Police Division.

Unfortunately, the Court of Appeal had also concluded that there had been a campaign (by my ex-wife) to turn my daughter against me and she was under the negative gatekeeping influence of my ex-wife.

My only plea and request is to seek assurance from SPF that these incidents will never happen again for the best interest and mental welfare of my daughter. She will be mentally traumatised for life if this ever happens again.

The abuse of this procedure is designed to destroy and create lifelong psychological damages, trauma and financial ruin.

The SPF needs to maintain the public’s confidence and not be used as a tool or personal army for any malicious intent.

In the event that SPF is still insisting that this current practice is the ideal way of moving forward, it will be useful if the public is educated on this so that appropriate measures can be taken.

Responding to the father’s letter, SPF wrote back on 22 February:

We refer to your email dated 8 February 2024.

We understand that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) had replied to you on 9 June 2023, 3 April 2023, 4 September 2022, 22 September 2022 and 10 November 2022 regarding the matter.

As mentioned by the SPF, the issues raised have been extensively reviewed and addressed. SPF had also explained to you that Police’s primary objective is to ensure the safety and well-being of your daughter, and that they had to act quickly given the information that was presented to them on the matter then. We are satisfied that the Police had acted professionally and in accordance with established procedures.

The father wrote back to SPF:

Dear Madam, I thank you for your reply.

Firstly, I think SPF is still unable to comprehend the psychological consequences a child will be affected from your current procedure of “Swatting” and “Snatch First, Check Later” of children.

I urge you to conduct a review with Mental Health Professionals about the consequences a child will be facing from your established procedures, involving children especially now the government is placing a priority for Mental Health issues.

It is disappointing that in your replies, you are still insisting that you were acting upon the information that was given to you, which is already proven to be false on both instances.

SPF is still unable to accept the fact that you had acted upon false information provided to you and is being used as a personal army by people with malicious intentions.

It took me a lot of effort and money to establish that my daughter had been psychologically harmed by the caller of the false 999 calls, unfortunately the ground officers had refused to assess on ground and handed my daughter over to the caller, causing further psychological harm towards her.

It is an undisputed fact that SPF had taken very drastic actions against me and my daughter relying on false information, and unknowingly inflicted mental trauma on my daughter and me, twice.

Your police officers refused to recognise my legal rights, were unable to contact their own division on the ground, refused to accept existing information that were available for their assessments and had unreasonably threatened to arrest me and threatened to put my daughter under detention under the “powers” of the Mental Health Act.

They had “cherry picked” information that justifies their actions, readily accepting false information and rejecting genuine information and legal documents that are readily available for them at the scene.

I do not understand how this is being acted in a professional manner as you had claimed.

In your reply, you highlighted that SPF had replied to me previously on the given dates, but yet SPF did not address my concerns.

For your easy reference, these issues weren’t addressed despite my previous emails to you, which I hope you are able to answer in point forms:

In the first incident,

My daughter was having Ice Cream, Chicken Wings and Fries in a public cafe, SPF was unable to explain to me how they assessed my daughter is in an unsafe condition and why the “swatting” by the police officers was required.

I had provided to SPF, evidence that the whole operation was pre-planned, which totally doesn’t match your explanation that your officers need to act quickly with no time to check and confirm my identity.

I was having lunch with my daughter in a public cafe. Your ground officers refused to check in on the CCTV or to check with the diners in the cafe if my daughter’s safety was compromised.

I had been threatened by your ground officers with arrest when I insisted on following the court orders set out by the Family Justice Courts in the presence of my daughter.

I had sufficiently proved with evidence that my daughter was safe with me and the Police is being used as a personal army after previous failed attempts to stop me from being with her.

In the second incident, your ground officers refused to read the order of court issued by the Family Justice Courts.

In the presence of my daughter, threats were again made to my household to have me arrested during my absence, if I insist on my legal rights accorded by the court orders set out by the Family Justice Courts upon my return.

The ground officer does not know the phone number to his Police Division.

Your ground officers refused to understand the dynamics and history by checking in with the Child Protection Officers from MSF or the IO from the same Police Division.

I had been threatened with the Mental Health Act against my daughter after she was admitted to the hospital.

SPF has not assured me that my daughter and I will be safe from the false 999 calls made against us from happening again.

I seek your understanding that I am doing my duty as a Father to protect my daughter from these unjustified actions in the future.

We are unable to live in fear of future police “Swatting”, the psychological damage is irreversible.

As a father who had seen my daughter forcefully taken away by the police on 2 occasions, the mental trauma inflicted on her is very damaging.

By insisting that your actions are justified, SPF is endorsing false 999 calls and refusing to acknowledge the psychological harm caused to children by this “Swatting” procedure.

I sincerely urge SPF to review your current procedures on handling false 999 calls and not to make quick judgements without/refuse any ground assessments to stop this cruel practice of forcefully removing a child from his/her legal parent.

It will also be useful to review your procedure of threatening arrest of parents in the presence of children, especially if there’s no arrestable offence committed.

I look forward to your reply regarding my concerns listed above and how SPF will put safeguards in place to ensure that these incidents will not happen again.

Thank you

To our readers: The content of this letter represents the views and experiences of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or endorsement of our publication. We believe in providing a platform for diverse voices and perspectives, allowing individuals to share their stories and viewpoints. However, this does not imply our confirmation of the events as fact. We encourage an open dialogue and recommend seeking multiple sources of information for a well-rounded understanding of any issue.

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The facts as laid out by the father seem genuine. The SPF is really the bad guy in this case – arrogant and thuggish in behaviour. Yet hiding behind their so-called professional action.

It would be interesting to see if the PM or any minister would deign to respond directly to the father instead of delegating downwards.

Someday your daughter is going to get a BF or perhaps get married.
Therefore, if you love someone, set them FREE. If they come back to you. It’s great.
Chill Bro.

They ownself Criminal Activity Yet dun want to check … Send one Sun Xueling to act like very White!?! Go finish your checking on Keppel and Ridout … Go check in the DNA of special children …

So if the Loong Empire claim the Na and wanna do a snatch with Li Ren and Eng Ren for their Russian empire. Can I report police too. Too free to meddle with civilian family life for their wayang show. Can?!?

Since they claim over ppl like their entities.
Bro china, Na and 1st son Loong, 2nd son Russian Putin. Can I put a note that these Empires are claiming their human asset for their wayang show.

Before they decide to do crazy show where they start snatching children. Can anot?!?