Singapore police deny wrongdoing in arrest of claustrophobic driver

Screengrab from interview of man who claimed police officers abused him. Photo: The Online Citizen/YouTube
Screengrab from interview of man who claimed police officers abused him. Photo: The Online Citizen/YouTube

A man who recently went public with claims that he was abused by police officers after failing an initial breathalyzer test has prompted the authorities to release their version of the incident, including that they had to apply “necessary force to physically move him” into a cell. 

The police issued a statement late last night denying wrongdoing in regards to the man’s claims, which was published by The Online Citizen socio-political site Monday, more than a year after the incident took place. See Kian Beng was brought into police custody for four hours on Feb. 14 of 2o2o after he was suspected of drink driving at a roadblock in Boon Keng. He later claimed that he was elbowed at the neck, kicked, and pushed into the cell as a result of him repeatedly declining to be placed in a small space because he was allegedly suffering from claustrophobia.

While the police’s version of events was largely consistent with that of See’s, they insisted that See had given a “misleading impression” and “had not set out the full facts.” 

“In view of his threat to harm himself and out of concern for his safety, officers decided to transfer See to a padded cell instead, using a wheelchair,” police said in its statement. “See put up a strong resistance entering into the padded cell and struggled with officers. Despite repeated advice by the officers, See refused to comply with officers’ instruction.”

“Officers therefore had to apply necessary force to physically move him into the padded cell,” the statement added. 

The police also said that they “did not find any abuse or wrongdoing” after reviewing surveillance footage of the incident, noting that they had already conveyed findings of their internal investigations to See last year. 


In his interview with The Online Citizen, See claimed that the police did not make it clear to him that he was under arrest but was instead told to follow a vehicle to the police headquarters in Cantonment. See also questioned why he was being detained for several hours even after passing a subsequent breathalyzer test taken at the station. Photos shared by See showed scratches on some parts of his body including his knee, which the police have confirmed to be “consistent with the struggles he put up when officers attempted to place him inside the padded cell.”

“I just want to see justice moving forward. I don’t want to see another person after me going through this kind of disaster,” he told The Online Citizen.

After he was released, See said that he filed a police report over the matter and complained to MP Heng Chee How in the Jalan Besar constituency. 

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