[UPDATE Monday 9.50pm: Adding that Iskandar bin Rahmat has been formally interdicted from service.]
Kovan murder suspect, Iskandar bin Rahmat, was formally interdicted from the police force on Monday, after he was charged in court for the double killings.
Police said in a statement, "As court proceedings against Iskandar are ongoing, we should let the law take its course, and not engage in speculation that could perpetuate misleading information that may cause further distress to the families involved in the case."
In the days following his arrest, he has emerged as a model policeman who looked after his family and then fell on hard times.
Neighbours at Iskandar’s Kim Keat Avenue flat told Yahoo! Singapore the 34-year-old moved into a three-room unit late last year with his parents and a woman whose identity remains a mystery.
According to Malay TV channel Suria, she is a female relative – possibly a sister – of the single Iskandar. Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News said she is the wife whom Iskandar married in 2003.
News and current affairs channel Channel NewsAsia also reported that Iskandar, a senior staff sergeant, was the breadwinner of the family.
On his now-deleted Facebook page, he showed a liking for vintage motorcycles. Iskandar owned a green Vespa himself, and rode it to Malaysia on the night of the murders.
‘Pride’ of police
Iskandar’s 14-year-career with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) had its distinguished moments.
The Straits Times reported that in 2002, a then-Corporal Iskandar helped apprehend a pornography seller at Bedok Interchange.
Later, as a Sergeant, he was featured on the SPF website after a member of the public commended him for his "outstanding work and “professionalism”. The article, which has been taken down, also had Iskandar’s commanding officer describe him as “the pride of Bedok North Neighbourhood Police Centre”.
Then, according to police, he ran into financial difficulties in June last year due to “personal domestic” issues.
Iskandar did not declare his debts – a requisite for civil servants – and was hauled in for disciplinary proceedings at the start of this year.
He was stripped of his position as an Investigation Officer, deployed to perform administrative duties and barred from carrying firearms.
According to Shin Min, Iskandar was declared bankrupt on Thursday, one day after the Kovan murders, and owed OCBC bank more than $60,000.
Knew his victims
Police have revealed that Iskandar first came into contact with one of the victims, Tan Boon Sin, as early as November last year.
The elder Mr Tan filed a theft report at Bedok police station when Iskandar was the officer on duty. His case was subsequently reassigned to another police officer who was investigating a series of similar thefts.
The full extent of the relationship between the two remains unknown, but Malaysia's New Straits Times claimed, via "an SPF source", that Iskandar and Tan Chee Heong were “romantically involved”.
"The SPF is not ruling out the possibility that this may be a crime of passion”, and with a revenge motive, the source had reportedly told the Malaysian daily.
When contacted, a spokesman for the Singapore Police Force urged the public "not to engagein speculation that may cause further distress to the families involved inthe case."
Iskandar was arrested by Malaysian police on Friday night while dining at a restaurant in Danga Bay, Johor. He had crossed the Causeway on his scooter Wednesday night, and was captured by security cameras at the Immigration and Customs Authority checkpoint.
He was brought into the custody of Singapore police on Saturday and will likely be charged in court on Monday.