A police officer who was also a senior member of a secret society as well as the founder and headman of a biker gang was sentenced to one year’s jail at the State Courts on Wednesday (20 June).
In sentencing 38-year-old Umar Hassan, District Judge Jasvender Kaur considered the former’s position as a senior member in the Sio Gi Ho Secret Society (SGHSS), which he first joined in 1996. Umar had also introduced potential members to the SGHSS headman for recruitment.
He left the gang in 1999 and joined the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in the same year. Umar rejoined SGHSS in 2007 and brought the motorcycle group he founded into its fold.
At the time of his arrest on 18 November 2016, Umar was a senior staff sergeant serving at the Ang Mo Kio Police Division tasked with performing mainly patrol and desk duties.
“It is bad enough when an ordinary citizen joins a secret society or lends connection to it. Here, (Umar) was not an ordinary citizen. He was a serving police officer when he rejoined and professed membership as a senior gang member,” said the judge.
She noted that even though there was no evidence that Umar was involved in criminal activities or abused his powers as a police officer, his position was” plainly an aggravating factor or very considerable impact”.
“Nothing could be better calculated to undermine regard for the integrity of the SPF than one of its members being a senior member of a secret society and a headman of a gang affiliated with it,” said Kaur.
Umar, who started off as a “fighter” with SGHSS, had on 31 May pleaded guilty to two charges of being a member of an unlawful society.
While still in the force, he also founded a motorcycle group called Team Nitra Racing (TNR) with three others in 2001.
He later rejoined SGHSS, which operated near Tekka Market in Little India, as a senior gang member in 2007. A year later, Umar proposed to the assistant headman of SGHSS to have TNR affiliated with the gang.
In return for protection, TNR would provide SGHSS with manpower. The assistant headman agreed and appointed Umar as the headman of TNR.
Umar’s involvement with the gang was exposed after officers from the Secret Societies Branch received a video that showed a group of men shouting gang slogans during a Malay wedding held at Woodlands Street 41.
Subsequent investigations led the police to Umar. Photos of him posing with gang-affiliated hand signs were discovered on his Facebook account, laptop and mobile phone. Items with gang insignias were also found at his residence.
SGHSS had a history of criminal activity. Between the 1950s and 1960s, its predecessor – the Gi Ho Hup Soon Heng secret society – was involved in numerous firearm robberies, kidnappings, and bloody clashes with rival gangs.
“The suppression of secret societies is a serious matter, and it has been a long-term problem. Such unlawful societies are prejudicial to public peace and public safety and have no place in our society,” said Kaur, noting the gang’s legacy.
In an e-mail response to queries from Yahoo News Singapore, the SPF said that Umar had been interdicted from service since 14 December last year.
“Following (Umar’s) conviction, we are now commencing disciplinary proceedings against him, with a view to dismissing him from service,” the SPF added.
While vetting is conducted for shortlisted applicants to the police force, the SPF noted that the process might not always detect the “adverse backgrounds of all applicants”.
“SPF has also reviewed our screening processes to minimise the possibility of similar cases from falling through the gaps again in future,” said the police in their response.
More Singapore stories: