Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Day Unk Dicko nabbed A Child Molester

General Background Information
In early 1972, my family and I moved into our new 3 Room flat in Lorong 1, Toa Payoh Housing estate. Everywhere my wife and I looked we saw new faces, complete strangers but all fellow Singaporeans who were also looking forward to making a new life and building a stable home. In our side of Lorong 1, near Siong Hoe Biscuit factory there were Blocks of flats with numbers 168, 169, 170, 171 -174. Further away were Blocks with numbers 167, 166, decreasing order.
Some of these blocks already had 'void' decks on the ground level. Not all though.
Two Blocks had shops on the ground floor...Blk 168 and 169 including a corner coffee shop.
We had provision shops, barber and hair saloon, radio, Tv, electrical repair shops, doctor, fruits, etc...
In no time at all, as the years passed, the small community grew. From knowing no one to knowing many fellow residents from various blocks and most of the shopkeepers and those in the coffeeshop..whether they were working there, doing a business or just having a drink, I got to know many people and vice-versa...just like living in a kampong of old.
Before too long, the 1st Residents Committee for our area was formed and I was persuaded by then MP, Mr P Selvadurai, to serve as a key member.
This went on for several years and our Committee members were a wonderful bunch of people all out to serve and improve the security, harmony and pleasant living environment of our "kampong". We were a really close-knit group. We had nothing to gain, ZERO privileges being in the RCs but we all knew its importance as an instrument of community-building...and served heartily.

The Actual Incident
This happened on a leisurely Saturday morning in the later 70's.
On that particular morning, a sweet and innocent girl age 7, was making her way back to her unit
after buying a loaf of bread from the shop below my Block. It was only a few floors up to her home as she climbed the staircase. She was alone and unaccompanied. But it wasn't the first time she had helped her family on simple errands like this. Usually it was not a problem, never had been, or else I or my RC would have known about such happenings.
But the events on that day shattered the idyllic peace of mind we had been enjoying for so long.
Unknown to that little girl, lurking in the shadows, a predator was watching her. He was a male.
No one was around when she became the victim of this child molester.

Where was Unk Dicko when this was happening?
I was then recuperating from a major knee operation and was on extended medical, full-paid leave from my work.
I stayed home mostly, after going for physio-therapy treatment at T Payoh Hospital. My entire right leg was wrapped in plaster of paris cast. I had no wheelchair so used a pair of crutches to move around somewhat.
As soon as I became aware of a commotion, soon after the incident happened, within minutes,I took charge immediately, knowing full well that the perpetrator of this dastardly crime could still be in the vicinity of our neighbourhood and MUST be caught! Accurate description of the culprit must be obtained speedily and acted upon even more so.

With calmness and gentleness, I managed to get a good enough, brief description of the culprit and what took place. Approximate age, race, body-build, face, hairstyle, attire, footwear, etc...
I asked the mother to bring the traumatised child home first and look after her well.
Immediately, I contacted my key RC Committee members to meet up with me below my Block at the Radio Repair shop...where I was seated on a rattan chair most kindly provided by the boss
" Ah Hai". He knew I was on crutches and could not stand for too long.
My very close RC friends rushed from their nearby homes without any hesitation and I briefed them very briskly on what had happened. Some of the ground floor neighbours and others also gathered at the point where I sat.
I could see that everyone was most outraged that someone had been stupid enough to want to do such a thing right in the heart of our "kampong".
Not knowing who this predator was, with no photo..nothing, except for the excellent description provided by the young victim through my skillful guidance-questions, I asked this party of citizen vigilantes to fan out and conduct a thorough search in our own neighbourhood first. I asked the late Mr Lee Thieng Chye to take charge and report back to me. I waited at the radio shop.

Apprehended in less than 30 minutes after crime!
We were looking for a youth about 17-18 years old.
Less than 20 minutes later, Mr TC Lee and the others were holding on tightly to a youth who fit
the general description. He was found about 3 blocks away.
When he was brought to me, I looked him all over and knew we had the scumbag...just by his body's quaking and the guilt in his eyes. I can see through all these smokescreens.
He was not tied up or anything like that. Just standing there as I asked him his name, address, NRIC ascertain who he was before asking him that critical first question....
WHY did you DO such a THING on such a young child????
He denied several times that he was the one doing any such thing. Told us we got the wrong guy!
Some of my fellow kampong folks wanted to wallop this screwball. I stopped them.
Unknown to this scumbag, I had arranged for the mother and victim to confirm if he was the one by quietly signalling to me.
Soon as I confirmed we caught the right criminal, he received one tight stop him from further remonstrating and to appease the others who really wanted to kick and punch him, beat him up badly.
He turned out to be a real shock for us. His address showed he lived in a nearby block! I instructed my fellow RC friends to escort him back to his home and inform the family about what he had done...and get back to me.
I did not follow this party who proceeded to his home...and met with predator's parents.
After more than an hour, the party returned to my home and related everything that happened in Predator's house
It was a fearful thing as I listened to what they had witnessed inside!

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