Scoot cancels Taipei flights due to airspace restrictions around Taiwan amid China's military drills
SINGAPORE - Budget airline Scoot cancelled its flight scheduled to leave Singapore for Taiwan on Friday morning (Aug 5) as well as the returning leg of the service, amid China's military drills around Taiwan.
The cancelled flight, TR996, was to depart Changi Airport at 9.55am for Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei.
A spokesman for Scoot said that the airline also cancelled the returning leg of the flight, TR997, which would have departed Taipei at 5.10pm back to Singapore on Friday.
Following the flight cancellations, Scoot said it would be rendering assistance to affected passengers.
“For bookings made through travel agents or partner airlines, customers are advised to contact their travel agent or purchasing airline for assistance,” said the spokesman.
“The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust plans, as necessary,” she added.
Scoot operates three direct flights from Singapore to Taipei every week – on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
The Scoot cancellations came after Singapore Airlines announced on Thursday that it would be cancelling two flights scheduled on Friday - SQ878 and SQ897 - from Singapore to Taipei, and the returning leg from Taipei to Singapore.
The other two flights which fly from Singapore to Taipei, operated by Taiwan’s EVA Air and China Air, are still scheduled to depart Singapore on Friday afternoon.
A member of EVA Air’s ticketing staff confirmed with reporters that its flights to Taipei are still scheduled to depart on Friday and Sunday. The airline flies the route five days a week, with no flights operating on Saturdays and Mondays.
China is conducting live-fire military exercises from Thursday to Sunday, following United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Tuesday, China sent an official notice to airlines operating in Asia to avoid flying in areas around Taiwan. The notice said flights will be restricted from noon on Thursday to noon on Sunday. Six areas of airspace around Taiwan have been designated as "danger zones" by China.
Mrs Pelosi was the highest-ranking US politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years, prompting China to condemn the visit and retaliate with economic and military responses.
Missiles fired by China landed in waters off the north-eastern and south-western coasts of Taiwan on Thursday, with five of the missiles landing in the sea within Japan's exclusive economic zone.
This story is developing.
SINGAPORE - Two men, aged 17 and 23, died in a lorry accident in Old Jurong Road towards Upper Bukit Timah Road on Thursday morning (Aug 4).
On Friday, the police said the 25-year-old driver was arrested for drink driving and careless driving causing death.
Paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were also alerted to the accident.
On Friday, the SCDF said it used hydraulic equipment to rescue two of the passengers who were trapped in the front seat.
Two men were pronounced dead at the scene.
The police said the driver and the remaining five passengers, aged 15 to 20, were taken to the National University Hospital.
Police investigations are under way.
In a video posted on Thursday on Facebook on Singapore Road Accidents, a lorry was seen with its entire front compartment smashed.
The vehicle is believed to have crashed into a tree in Old Jurong Road.
Last year, two migrant workers, aged 28 and 33, who were travelling in the back of a lorry were killed when it crashed into a stationary tipper truck on the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE).
There were 17 workers sitting at the back of the lorry which was heading to a worksite in Woodlands.
In 2010, three Chinese migrant workers were killed when the lorry they were in skidded and tipped over on the slip road towards Thomson Road, off the Changi-bound side of the PIE.
The lorry was carrying 15 workers in the back even though only 13 were allowed.
SINGAPORE - Capitaland Retail Management was charged on Thursday (Aug 4) for safety lapses after the death of a migrant worker at Tampines Mall in January 2020.
The company, which runs the mall, faces a charge under the Workplace Safety and Health Act for failing to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure that the workplace was safe and without risks to everyone.
At about 1.30am on Jan 25, 2020, the worker - a 26-year-old Indian national - was cleaning the walkway above the mall's atrium ceiling on the fourth storey when he crashed through the false ceiling down to level three.
He died later in hospital.
Capitaland Retail Management is accused of failing to provide effective guardrails to prevent any falls through an opening along the concrete walkway.
It is also accused of failing to provide and maintain sufficient and suitable lighting in the fifth level where people are at work or passing by.
If convicted, the company could be fined up to $500,000.
It was previously reported that the worker who died was employed by Cleaning Express.
Following the death, a Ministry of Manpower spokesman said it was investigating the incident and ordered a stop to all cleaning works above the atrium ceiling.
S'pore Prison rebuts claim by death row inmate's sister that filing of court application was blocked
SINGAPORE - The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) on Thursday (Aug 4) rebutted claims by the sister of a death row inmate scheduled to be hanged on Friday that its officers had intentionally blocked the submission of a court application.
The sister of Abdul Rahim Shapiee claimed that a group of prisoners on death row, including her brother, had given court documents to prison officers on July 25.
In a letter that was posted online, she claimed that the prison authorities "placed impossible obstacles" to prevent their suit from being filed by asking the prisoners for application forms and e-litigation forms.
This is untrue, said the SPS in its statement on Thursday.
"No prisoner awaiting capital punishment approached any SPS officer on July 25, 2022 to request to file any legal application," said the statement.
The SPS said that on July 28, two death row prisoners made a request to a prison officer for advice on the process of filing what is known as an originating claim.
"Since the advice related to legal proceedings to be filed in court, the SPS officer told them that they should seek advice from the court on the specific documents required for the filing of an application of that nature, as well as the fees involved.
"This is the standard procedure for prisoners who are not assisted by legal counsel for the filing of non-routine applications."
On the same day, said the SPS, one of the two inmates was issued a form so he could write to the court to pose his queries when he requested for it.
The form was not used, said the SPS statement.
"Contrary to the claims made, SPS officers did not ask any prisoner awaiting capital punishment for any application form or e-litigation form, or deny any request to file a court application on such basis," it said.
The two prisoners did not inform SPS that their intended claim involved Abdul Rahim, or that the application required urgent attention.
In fact, one of the two prisoners informed a prison officer that the documents were not finalised as he was awaiting an upcoming visit on Aug 1 to receive a printout of another document.
On Aug 1, the prisoner representing the inmates in their civil claim submitted the final set of documents to SPS.
On the same day, SPS helped to file the set of documents with the court, on behalf of the death row prisoners.
SPS said it also made arrangements with the family of the representative prisoner for the payment required.
A prison officer was present at the Supreme Court to assist with the filing of the application, which was successfully filed on the same afternoon, said the statement.
The SPS statement did not name the representative.
However, court records show that former police officer Iskandar Rahmat, who was convicted of the 2013 Kovan double murder, filed a civil claim for 24 death row inmates, including himself.
The 24 inmates claim that as a result of costs orders being imposed on lawyers, they have been "prevented and/or obstructed from appointing lawyers to review and/or challenge their conviction and/or sentence and/or make other legal challenges".
Under criminal procedure, the court can order lawyers to personally bear the legal costs if they are found to have abused the court's process or if the proceedings are frivolous or vexatious.
The suit was struck out by the High Court on Wednesday. The appeal is scheduled to be heard on Thursday afternoon.
SINGAPORE - After a dispute with a taxi driver over payment for a ride, Carlie Jayne Guy pushed him into nearby bushes.
After police officers were called to the scene, the Briton scratched one of them and kicked another.
Guy, 37, was fined $4,000 on Thursday (Aug 4) after she pleaded guilty to a charge of voluntarily causing hurt and two charges over use of criminal force.
Two other charges were taken into consideration during her sentencing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Regina Lim said in court documents that on Feb 2, 2019, Guy boarded a taxi driven by Mr Simon Tan and they reached the drop-off point of City Square Residences at 2 Kitchener Link at about 5.15am.
She added: "When Tan sought to collect his taxi fare from the accused, the accused claimed that she had paid for the taxi fare via the Grab mobile phone application with her credit card.
"A dispute thus broke out between Tan and the accused."
Guy then pushed Mr Tan towards the nearby bushes, causing him to stumble.
He then called the police and followed Guy as she walked away.
She was later stopped by police officers, placed under arrest and escorted back to the drop-off point.
As she was being held by two officers, she used the nail of her right thumb to scratch one of them a few times. The officer moved his hand away in pain.
He was later found to have sustained a 2cm scratch mark.
After a police car arrived, an officer was escorting Guy to the rear passenger seat of the car when she kicked the officer's leg.
In court on Thursday, Guy said she has been in Singapore for 12 years and hopes to remain here to work.
Previously on an employment pass, she had been on a special pass for the last three years during investigation into her offences.
For voluntarily causing hurt, she could have been jailed for up to three years, fined up to $5,000, or both.
For each count of using criminal force, she could have been jailed for up to three months' and fined $1,500.
SINGAPORE - Motorists crossing the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints can expect heavy traffic and delays this National Day weekend and holiday period (Aug 5 to Aug 10) following a peak of more than 290,000 commuters a day over the past weekend.
The number of daily crossings from July 29 to 31 surpassed the weekend travel volumes recorded during this year's June school holidays, Vesak Day and Good Friday weekends, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Thursday (Aug 4).
Weekends during the June school holiday saw about 278,000 travellers each day.
As traffic flow has been increasing along the Causeway and at the checkpoints, commuters are advised to adjust their travel plans, if possible, to avoid being caught in a jam.
Pre-pandemic, during peak traffic at the National Day long weekend in 2019, travellers at the land checkpoints had to wait for up to four hours before they cleared immigration, added the ICA.
Therefore, travellers are advised to factor in additional time for immigration clearance and avoid the following peak hours:
- From 3pm and 11.59pm, travellers leaving Singapore on Friday (Aug 5)
- From 6am to 10am and 4pm to 9pm, travellers leaving Singapore on Saturday (Aug 6)
- From 6pm to 11.59pm, those arriving in Singapore between Sunday (Aug 7) and Wednesday (Aug 10).
Those departing from the Woodlands checkpoint should also note that Malaysia's immigration department, Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia, has been conducting upgrading works on their arrival immigration car booths since June.
During this period, booths undergoing upgrading at the Bangunan Sultan IskandarCustoms, Immigration and Quarantine Complex will not be operational.
Before leaving Singapore, motorists are also advised to check the traffic situation at the land checkpoints through the Land Transport Authority's One Motoring website or via the Expressway Monitoring Advisory System installed along the Bukit Timah Expressway and Ayer Rajah Expressway.
Traffic updates will also be posted on the ICA's social media pages.
Travellers should ensure their passports have a remaining validity of six months or more. Permanent residents who have renewed their passports will have to transfer their re-entry permit to the new passport, said the ICA.
All short-term visitors, including in-principle approval holders, need to submit their Singapore arrival card with health declaration within three days before arriving at Singapore.
Arriving travellers who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will receive a seven-day stay-home notice through the e-mail address provided in their arrival card declaration, added the ICA.
SINGAPORE - Around 50 residents had to be evacuated on Wednesday morning (Aug 03) after a fire broke out at an 11th-floor HDB unit in Telok Blangah.
At about 11.40am, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the fire at Block 92B Telok Blangah Street 31. Upon arrival, its officers observed that the fire was raging and thick black smoke was emitting from a unit on the 11th floor.
Firefighters from the Alexandra Fire Station forced their way into the unit and extinguished the fire using two water jets, said SCDF.
As a result of the fire, the entire unit was affected by heat and smoke damage.
One person was assessed by a paramedic for smoke inhalation, but later refused to be sent to a hospital, it added.
"About 50 occupants from the affected block were evacuated by the police and SCDF as a precautionary measure."
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
In a Facebook post, West Coast GRC MP Rachel Ong said several residents had informed her about the fire slightly before noon.
She later visited the block and met with residents, including the owner of the affected unit who she said "is physically unharmed".
Speaking to reporters after, Ms Ong said she was heartened that residents had notified each other using various means about the fire when it broke out.
"As residents couldn't be sure when they could return to their homes, town council members were also on site to give out water to those who had been evacuated from their homes," she added.
By 2pm, most of the residents - except for those staying on the affected floor - had returned to their homes, said Ms Ong, adding that workers from the town council are helping with the clean-up operations.
SINGAPORE: The Hwa Chong Institution counsellor who delivered a presentation containing discriminatory claims against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community has been suspended from all duties.
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing gave this update on Tuesday (Aug 2) in a written response to questions from Non-Constituency MP Hazel Poa and MP Xie Yao Quan (PAP-Jurong).
The incident last month involved a Hwa Chong staff member giving a presentation on sexuality, which contained a slide filled with discriminatory content.
This included claims such as “58 per cent of homosexuals have problems with intestinal worms” and that “one in 15 homosexuals is a paedophile”.
Hwa Chong clarified on Jul 18 that this content was outside the scope of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) sexuality education curriculum, and that the views presented were the counsellor's personal perspectives.
The school then said it had reprimanded and suspended the counsellor from delivering further sexuality education lessons.
On Tuesday, Ms Poa asked about the duties the counsellor was retaining and what safeguards were in place to ensure such incidents do not happen again.
“Following the incident, the school counsellor, who is an employee of Hwa Chong Institution, has been suspended from all duties, pending further investigation by the school personnel board,” said Mr Chan.
Parents and students have also been assured that the views expressed by the counsellor do not reflect that of the school, he added.
“The school has also emphasised the importance of respect and care for everyone in the school community,” he said.
Mr Xie asked when the ministry expects to conclude investigations into the incident and if it was aware of any student who was personally affected by the counsellor's statements and had come forward to seek help.
In his reply, Mr Chan said Hwa Chong has been watching out for students who may be affected by the incident.
“Teachers have been vigilant in monitoring their students’ well-being, and students who have concerns or require support have been encouraged to approach the school leaders or a trusted adult in school,” he said.
“The school is reviewing its processes to ensure alignment with MOE’s curriculum and guidelines.”
SINGAPORE: A proposed law to regulate debt collection activities with measures like police screening and a licensing regime will help professionalise and remove the stigma attached to the industry, companies told reporters.
“This law will improve the general public’s perception that all debt collectors are ‘gangsters’ and ‘loan sharks’,” said Rocket Debt Collection founder Christabel Sia.
"It also helps solidify and boost clients’ confidence that they are choosing a legitimate and ethical agency."
Some debt collection firms, however, expressed concerns over the potential impact of stricter regulations on their recruitment and hiring of staff.
“You cannot expect a university graduate to be working in this industry," said Resolute Debt Recovery's director, who asked to be identified only as Alan.
"Our employees are mostly ex-prisoners or inmates... We are unlikely to be able to get (a) licence."
Introduced in Parliament on Monday (Aug 1), the Debt Collection Bill seeks to provide the police with the necessary levers to stem “problematic” debt collection practices.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) noted in a press release then that over the past few years, there has been a “high number” of police reports against debt collection companies and debt collectors for collecting debts in a manner causing "alarm and nuisance” to the public.
“Debt collection is a legitimate activity that facilitates the fulfilment of financial obligations," said MHA, adding that it would adopt a pragmatic approach towards regulating such activities.
Mr Israel Shankar Ganesh, legal head for debt collection agency JMS Rogers said this statement from MHA nullifies the "widespread misconception that debt recovery activities are illegal".
The proposed law will better protect the general public while also educating them on actions by debt collectors that are prohibited by law, he added.
"Errant debt collection companies would have to face repercussions ... this will indeed assist in filtering out the 'black sheep'," said Mr Ganesh.
SINGAPORE: In the middle of July 2016, Leslie Khoo found himself in hot water.
Chinese national Cui Yajie, 31, had been reported missing, and police investigators found out that Khoo, then 48, was the last person to see her. They suspected Khoo knew more than he was telling.
When officers arrested Khoo on Jul 20 and questioned him, he insisted he had dropped Ms Cui off at Upper Jurong Road. Investigators went to that exact spot but could not find any trace of him ever being there. This was a red flag, so they interrogated him further.
"He was just like a deer caught in the headlights," Superintendent of Police (SUPT) Alvin Phua, who assisted the investigating officer in Khoo's case, told reporters. "He knew the game was up."
Khoo eventually revealed that on Jul 12, he had argued with Ms Cui in his car and drove her to a road along Gardens by the Bay, where "in a fit of anger" he strangled her to death.
The "natural question", SUPT Phua said, would then be where the body was. Khoo claimed to have brought it to a remote area in Lim Chu Kang, where he burnt it over three days under a discarded lorry canopy.
Khoo then led investigators to the scene, prosecutors said, telling them with a smile that there was "nothing left".
Following an 11-day trial in 2019, Khoo was convicted of murdering Ms Cui and sentenced to life imprisonment. While Khoo's confession might have made it look like an open-and-shut case, SUPT Phua said this was only "the first part of the story".
"You need to find out whether that is a genuine confession or a confession that is aimed to shield others from the punishment of that crime," said SUPT Phua.
The 47-year-old is also deputy head of the Special Investigation Section, a unit under the Criminal Investigation Department that deals with serious crimes like murder, kidnapping and those involving firearms.
"So, you need to look out for a lot of corroborative evidence to either prove or disprove his version of the event," he added.
The evidence includes eyewitnesses or closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, but if they are not readily available - like in Khoo's case where the crimes happened in remote areas - then a DNA profile becomes crucial.
"Because you have been there, not only I should be able to see you on CCTV," SUPT Phua said. "Any contact that you have, your DNA transfer might be there. More often than not, it is there. And this is where the recovery and eventual tracing of DNA evidence become absolutely critical."
COLLECTING DNA FROM MORE PEOPLE
This emphasis on DNA comes after a Bill was introduced in Parliament on Aug 1, proposing to allow the police to collect DNA samples from people arrested for more crimes.
Under the Registration of Criminals Act, police currently can collect DNA samples only for a specific list of registrable crimes, including shop theft, molestation and cheating. The Bill seeks to expand this scope by adding "eligible" crimes like voluntarily causing hurt, drink driving and reproducing obscene films.
"Restricting the collection of an individual’s particulars and DNA information to just these types of (registrable) crime has resulted in smaller databases, which may limit the police’s ability to solve crimes, especially in cases with very few leads," the Ministry of Home Affairs had said.
Special Investigation Section head SUPT Roy Lim, 50, said the expansion will help deter more would-be criminals, adding that the DNA database, launched in 2003, has helped the police solve major crimes quicker.
This database contains DNA profiles of every individual who has gone through the police system for registrable crimes, SUPT Lim said. This DNA could be extracted from blood or buccal samples.
It also stores DNA evidence found at crime scenes, helping police solve cold cases when a matching profile enters the system down the road.
"If we increase the database, we increase the probability of people that we want to reach out to, especially perpetrators. We also lower the time needed to hunt for these people," he said.
"For major crimes, when we don't have a suspect, a lot of manpower and resources are dedicated to trying to solve these cases as quickly as possible. When you solve crimes quicker, people feel safe."
For instance, SUPT Lim oversaw a 2016 investigation into a case of mischief by fire, when police were on the hunt for a group of men who hurled Molotov cocktails at St James Power Station.
Officers had CCTV footage of the group's silhouettes and their getaway car, but the images were not definitive enough to identify crucial markers, like their faces or the car's licence plate.
The big break came when officers found a lighter along the group's suspected escape route near the nightclub, SUPT Lim said.
Eager not to miss anything, officers bagged the lighter and sent it for DNA analysis. This returned a match in the database to someone who was previously convicted of a registrable crime. Police interviewed the man and used circumstantial evidence to prove he was at the scene that day.
The man eventually broke down, and his statements revealed the identities of four other suspects.
"If we didn't find that lighter, it would have taken us probably a longer time, searching stretches of roads and camera after camera to try to find the car plate," SUPT Lim said.
"So, the lighter was a very fast forward way to help us to solve the case. We could have solved it probably in another two or three days' time after we have covered all the CCTVs, but this was almost immediate - the next day."
THINKING OUT OF THE BOX
Khoo's murder case was different in that police already had pieces of the puzzle, but needed DNA to ensure the pieces fit.
After Khoo's confession, investigators seized his car and sent it to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for processing. HSA found bloodstains in the car, possibly from Ms Cui's decomposing body that was left in the car overnight.
But because there was no more body, police needed to find another way of getting Ms Cui's DNA so they could try matching it with the profile from the bloodstains. Investigators went to her home and collected a pair of pants she wore as pyjamas.
"The logical place to look at will definitely be things that a person uses on a daily basis intimately," SUPT Phua said.
"So, we can be looking at pyjamas, like in this case, clothing worn that wasn't washed, and toothbrushes or shavers for guys. These are the things that you use on a daily basis and the chance of getting a DNA profile there is high."
But for the analysis to be accurate, SUPT Phua said it was important to ensure that this item was only used by the subject and not anybody else.
"This requires a bit of thinking out of the box," he said.
"It's not only you just get any pair of pyjamas, so long as it's in her room. You need to be sure that these are worn by her and her only. And so these are the additional things that you need to verify along the way."
DNA from the bloodstains and Ms Cui's pyjamas were eventually shown to be a match.
NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK
Back in the wooded area at Lim Chu Kang Lane 8, where Khoo said he had burnt the body, officers started combing for evidence. Dusk had fallen and it was hard to see anything, much less traces of human remains. Police could set up large lights, but this would cast long shadows too.
The search continued the next day in the morning light. Crime scene specialist Jolene See, 30, had just started her 8am shift and was sent to the scene under the harsh sun.
As per common practice, the crime scene specialists spoke to investigators to get the facts of the case. They were told that there was no body, so they needed to find anything - possibly something small - that resembled human belongings or remains. This could be hair, fabric or any source of DNA.
Ms See slipped on her surgical gloves and shoe covers and got to work.
The officers walked shoulder to shoulder in a thorough line search to scour the narrow lane, as well as the vegetation and drain to one side. Khoo said he had disposed in that drain whatever remains were left.
The officers were used to searching for evidence in urban settings, but this was different. When someone saw something, they stopped, squatted and sometimes brushed aside leaves to take a closer look.
"It’s quite difficult because it’s outdoor terrain, so it's very hard to look for minute things, and we have to be really detailed about it," Ms See recalled. "We do a lot of bending and squats. It can be exhausting."
To ensure the search was as thorough as possible, the gurkhas, National Parks Board and national water agency PUB were brought in for their expertise in forested areas and how water flowed in that specific drain, SUPT Phua said.
"You will want to leverage the expertise of different agencies to see how best you can carefully and meticulously process the entire area - go through it with a fine comb for any shred of evidence, because you can't afford to miss out anything," he said.
After a few hours of searching, officers found clumps of what looked like human hair - the same colour as the asphalt it was on - under one of two discarded lorry canopies in the area. Reporters was given access to never-before-released crime scene photographs.
"We collected it, packed it properly to preserve the DNA, and handed it over to the investigating officer to send it for analysis," Ms See said.
Officers continued searching over seven days and eventually found more than they hoped for, including bone fragments that later turned out to be animal bones.
While HSA could not match the hair to Ms Cui as it was missing its roots, a mitochondrial DNA analysis concluded that it matched the profile of her mother. This was submitted as evidence in court to show that Ms Cui's body was indeed burnt there.
It was also the first time that mitochondrial DNA sequencing was used in Singapore to establish a deceased's identity without a body.
"It was nice to recover something that will help us to identify or at least try to identify the body," Ms See said of the hair discovery. "I think at that point of time, we were glad that our hard work actually paid off."
SUPT Phua said DNA from the bloodstains in the car and the hair at Lim Chu Kang helped solidify the case.
"You're not talking about any single silver bullet to the case, but you can say it’s the confluence of all the evidence, little bits, that help to add up and strengthen the case to suggest that it was her present at the scene," he said.
HOW DNA IS COLLECTED
This is why it is so important to ensure that DNA evidence is not contaminated, SUPT Lim said, adding that officers who first respond to a crime scene are trained to process it properly. Gloves and shoe covers are also discarded after a single use.
"It starts from how the evidence was found, then how it's documented and photographed, packaged and submitted," he said.
"HSA has a different set of protocols on how are they going to deal with it and extract DNA. Ours is to ensure that what we seize is not contaminated and is original - we don't introduce anything else - before it goes to court."
Officers are also taught where to look for DNA based on the circumstances of the case, although SUPT Lim acknowledged that mastering this takes years of experience.
"That's why we are always teaching and teaching. You don't teach, five years down the road everybody will say, 'Never mind, just wait. No DNA, don't solve.' It cannot happen," he said.
"The old detective way must complement the new-age technology that we have."
DNA sources include blood, hair, semen, saliva and skin cells, but not all of them are visible to the naked eye. Crime scene specialists use a specific light source to unveil human secretions, and a screening kit to determine whether a substance is really blood, Ms See said.
As for collection, an item small enough will be seized in whole and sent to HSA for analysis. If an item cannot be removed, like a window pane, it will be swabbed in all "probable areas of DNA deposition" before the swabs are sent to HSA, Ms See added.
SUPT Lim is confident that perpetrators, despite their best efforts otherwise, will leave traces of DNA at the crime scene.
"You want, you dress yourself up like a ninja - housebreakers have done that, socks, gloves and all - but you will still leave something behind," he insisted.
"DNA is a silent witness ... They're just waiting and thinking, 'Come swab here bro, this fella switched on the tap.'"
Another quality of DNA is that it is known to "reside around for the longest time", SUPT Lim said, pointing to how police officers planted their own DNA on 5kg of explosives before blowing them up to study the resilience of DNA evidence.
"We tested where we planted the explosives, and we still got DNA," he said. "It actually depends on contamination, including the rain and sun, but DNA stays for a long, long time."
DNA collected from crime scenes or blood samples of those brought in for registrable crimes are then stored in the DNA database, which SUPT Lim said is located in a "very secured" server accessible only by a limited number of people with security clearance.
"Even I don't have access to the DNA database," he said.
"Even if we want to do any matching, we go through an authorised person. There are also (data protection) protocols and security. We don't want somebody to be planting it, we don't want people to be taking it out."
SUPT Lim suggested that a national DNA database could be even more useful for solving and deterring crime.
For example, he recalled how police were trying to use DNA to identify the perpetrators in the Little India riot, but were unable to as many of them were foreign workers whose DNA were not in the database.
But when asked about how such a national database could raise privacy concerns, SUPT Lim said these were rights issues drawn from Western influence.
"But to me, if you don’t commit a crime, why are you afraid? People say this could be manipulated, but we have so much (security measures) in place," he said.
"People always protect themselves, but if it is they themselves who suffer the loss of loved ones, then they start questioning the police: 'How come you don’t have DNA? Technology is so advanced.' The fact is you could be one of those that are opposing us in getting DNA."
SUPT Lim recounted how in 2013, police used DNA to identify a headless body found in a Whampoa canal near McNair Road. It belonged to Indian national Jasvinder Kaur, 33, who was murdered by her husband.
"No head, no hands so we couldn't tell (her identity). We found something else that belongs to her, and we matched it with the body," said SUPT Lim, who was personally involved in the investigation.
"You can extract DNA from the bone marrow, but of course, how good the DNA is going to be, how usable it is and how much it is depends on the condition of the body."
Dismembered and decomposed bodies are all part of the job for Ms See, who said she is not disgusted but sad when dealing with such scenes.
"I will want to try my best to actually recover as much DNA and fingerprints or any evidence that will help in the case and when it goes to trial," she said, adding that she has dug through rubbish chutes to find evidence.
"Sometimes we miss our meals and we're just exhausted, then we're just asking ourselves why we're here. But I think ultimately we are doing something good. And there's a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day.