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My 3-day wild goose chase ended with Gopalan Nair’s phone call

Monday was a crazy day. Having spent the entire day outside office. I returned to office in the evening to find a pile of undone work. Tired as i was i had no choice but to leave for home after completing a pittance of it.

Tuesday was just as mad. Having to plough through the undone work in double quick time gave me a splitting headache by the end of the day. The activists were conducting a vigil in the evening. My phone went flat. I had a dinner to attend.

I managed to drop by the vigil being conducted at the pavement outside the Police Cantonment Complex. Candles were being lit. I met ST’s Kor Kian Beng and his accompanying photographer.

The photographer was incensed he asked if he was breaking any law by taking photographs. I replied that there were none though there were restrictions on photography in certain security restricted areas.

It transpired that the police had made their way out of the building and had warned the ST Photographer not to take photographs of the Police Cantonment Complex. Strangely enough, they had chosen to ignore the activists lighting candles outside the police complex but had chosen to home in to the poor ST Photog. For once activists were ignored!

The ST Photographer related how he flashed his press card at the police but the police nevertheless proceeded to take down his particulars. I rationalised that the did so because the JI member who took the Yishun MRT video was probably more innocent-looking as compared to our ST reporters. Furthermore, it was quite clear that they feared the terrorist threat more than the normal Singaporean which was why you can see that the Police Cantonment complex was basically like most new government buildings built and guarded like a fortress.

Carparks restricted to only their staff. Armed guards at the entry to the car park. Metal detectors and X-ray machines used on all persons entering the building. Driveways which people cannot use. Bollards and barricades and the sort are commonplace. Roads with double zig zag lines which meant people cannot stop their vehicles.

It is clear that the Home Team took the terrorist threat very seriously. In fact so seriously that they probably did not want any terrorist anywhere near their complexes – Whitely Road Detention Centre included.

I reassured the photographer that no law was being broken and that he had every right to take photographs in a public place. This must be contrasted with what that happened much later.

I then proceeded to go ahead with my dinner. What was supposed to be a leisurely dinner and chit chat became somewhat a half-island goose chase. Luckily for dinner the roasted chicken was good. Tasty and Tender. There was also some oily and tasty vegetable – don’t really know what that was called but essentially it was supposedly a famed Hainanese Restaurant. The food was not too bad overall.

I was lucky to be sent back to the area after the dinner. After making my way back to the vigil being conducted, i found that the numbers which attended at the vigil had grown. It also seemed that the police had finally matured and had begun to ignore us.

We then took out some cards and posed for a shot before we broke for home. This was the trick. Somehow or the other the police began stirring. I noticed that there was a flurry of activity in the police station all of a  sudden. A photographer dressed in a white shirt. Middle aged man. Appeared out of nowhere and hastily took a number of photographs of us – not unobtrusively in the usual police fashion. As if the photographs were needed for some record of some event, perhaps to add to the number in their album which they have kept of activists.

We broke off for home at about 11pm plus. I ended up with a shoe soaked with coffee – the details of which are a little too difficult to describe but which Shaffiee would probably know :)

Today was a wild day as well. Some heavy reading up of the law in the morning. Off to High Court to send off Dr. Chee and Siok Chin near noon, thereafter a nice but quick lunch with two political associates and then back to office to complete the research. I managed to shoot a letter to the Central Police Division to request to see Gopalan Nair. The letter was faxed at 1439hrs. My secretary attempted to get hold of Investigating Officer ASP Razak Jakaria in vain. Seeing that i was not likely to get to see Gopalan Nair until 9th June 2008, i prepared to file the notice of appeal against the order for remand.

Sometime after 640pm and near 7pm this evening, i received a call from Gopalan Nair. He had called from the police station. He called to inform me that he would be produced in Court tomorrow morning to face a fresh charge. At that point, my heart sank – another charge. And this one is for sedition. I asked if there would be further remand and the reply was there was no such indication.

Upon hearing that I then stopped my work. I had finished some research and completed the Notice of Appeal when the phone call came. The preparations for the appeal against remand can be put on hold but only for the time being – at least i could take a breather until 9am tomorrow morning.

The time is 2219hrs 4th June 2008. I shall now leave the office for home and prepare to appear for Gopalan Nair tomorrow morning. We hope for all the best for Gopalan Nair.

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June 4, 2008 - Posted by | Life, Politics

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