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"Admit you were an ISIS supporter!". Interrogation at Onraet Road "Admit you were an ISIS supporter!". Interrogation at Onraet Road
by Zulfikar Shariff
2022-05-10 07:04:31
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From the Tuas checkpoint, I was taken by car to another location. The lead officer sat in the back with me.

I learned later that his name was Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Tim Ker Kien Ping. The other Chinese officer was Acting Inspector Ong Ngiap Shaine. The Malay officer was Roslan, rank unknown although his rank was lower than Ong’s.

since0001_400They never introduced themselves. I learned Tim and Ong’s names from the police statements I was forced to sign. Roslan’s name was accidentally given by the psychologist.

Tim spoke with me during the drive. He was not overly belligerent but appeared to be trying to catch any mistakes I might make in the conversation. He told me they just wanted to talk and for me to be honest with them.

“I will be as honest as I can” I replied.

Tim snapped. “Honest as you can? Which means you will not be fully honest. Just as you can. You will hide somethings.”

Which I thought was silly. All it meant was that I would tell him what I knew. I could not tell him what I did not.

He kept going with it and I ignored him. I talked about Singapore. I missed being home and just wanted to feel being in Singapore again. I tried to have a normal conversation. I told him that I believed all of us were trying to do what was good for Singapore, we just had different perspectives.

They took me to what seemed like a two or three storey whitewashed 1960s school. One of those with the long corridors and classrooms in a row. A small lane led up to the building with a fence around it. Outside the gate was a car shed. I was led to an office at the end of the ground floor and told to leave my bag and phone in a wooden locker.

Tim took the locker key and handed it to me.

“See, you hold your key. We don’t have access to your things.”

I thought that was a strange assurance to give. I did not ask him whether he would have access.

It was a wooden locker with a generic key. He could take my bag and phone anytime he wanted.

But he carried on with the supposed assurances and I let it be. During the car ride, he kept telling me that I would have control of the air-conditioner unit.

“I will give you the aircon control.” he said repeatedly. After every other sentence, he would remind me that he would give me the control unit.

“You can hold it” he said.

I understood why he repeated that point. During the 1987 arrests, the detainees described how they were made to stand for hours in a cold room with the air-conditioner blasting freezing air onto their face and body. Some were doused with water.

We went to the upper floor and I was led to a room with a couple of desks. The room was narrow and deep. On the table was a packet of chicken rice. I was told to break my fast. It would have been around 9pm. As I finished my dinner, the three officers came back to the office. Ong sat a few metres in front of me and Roslan a little closer. Tim kept standing.

I was seated in front of him.

All of a sudden, he shouted “You supported ISIS!”

I was surprised. He went from having a conversation to a full blooded scream in an instant. It took me a second to orientate myself.

Tim looked angry.

“No I did not. I supported the revolution.” I replied. I tried to remain calm. I was trying to understand what was going on.

“I am not talking about now” Tim shouted as he paced the room. “I am talking about 2 years ago.”

“I did not.” I repeated. “I supported the revolution. ISIS was just the group in the media at that time.”

He kept screaming over and over telling me to say I was an ISIS supporter. I kept telling him that I wasn’t

He repeated “Not now. Two years ago.”

“Two years ago I did not support them. They were just the group in the media.”

I was trying to tell him that it was never about ISIS. Two years earlier, they were just the group that was fighting Bashar that received media attention. I told the ISD officers, even if it was the Mickey Mouse club that fought Bashar, I would have celebrated their victories.

It was not about ISIS. It was because I wanted Bashar stopped.

After about an hour of Tim’s continued screaming, I told him I needed to pray.

“I need to pray Isha’” I told him.

“No. Admit you supported ISIS.”

“I need to do my prayers first.”

He kept on shouting and refused to allow me to perform my prayers. I insisted. After several minutes, he allowed me to perform my prayers. I was told to go to the washroom a few doors down the corridor.

Another officer stood in the corridor. He was plum, Indian Muslim and probably in his late 20s or early 30s. I did not know his name i. I referred to him as Larsson. I asked him where we were.

“Onraet Road” he scowled.

I thought it was amusing that he looked angry. His colleague had been screaming at me for about an hour. Why would he be angry?

After I completed my prayers, I noticed that Tim and Roslan had left the room. Ong was the only one left.

“What do you guys want me to say?” I asked him.

“Let’s wait for the others to come back” he replied, a little tense.

When they returned, Tim screamed again. He kept telling me to admit being an ISIS supporter. I gave him the same response.

It became obvious that the ISD officers were not interested to know what I had to say. All they wanted was for me to agree with them.

Tim sat beside me and threatened “Either you admit or we have to escalate.”

“You just want an excuse to arrest me” I told him.

“If you do not admit, we will escalate” he repeated.

Roslan took out his handcuffs and played with it. He kept flicking the cuffs open and closed.

“You just want to detain me. I am at peace.”

I was upset. No where close to being at peace.

“Either you admit or we escalate.”

“I am at peace. You just want an excuse to detain me” I repeated.

Suddenly Tim stood up, grabbed my upper arm and pulled me up. He turned me to face the table.

“I arrest you under the Internal Security Act.”

He cuffed my hands behind my back. And I felt a woolly beanie slide over my head, covering my face.

I was blindfolded.


i For ISD officers whose name I did not know, I referred to them with a Manchester United player or official’s names to help me identify them. Larsson was named after Henrik Larsson.


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