Singapore cop charged over gruesome double murder

A Singapore policeman once portrayed as a model officer was charged Monday with the gruesome double murder of a businessman and his son in a case that has shocked the city-state.

Senior Staff Sergeant Iskandar Rahmat, 34, could face hanging if convicted of murdering car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin, 67, and his son Tan Chee Heong, 42, last Wednesday.

The older man was fatally slashed in his home while his son's body was found a kilometre (half a mile) away after being dragged under one of their cars, leaving a trail of blood on a busy road as other motorists watched in horror.

Iskandar appeared dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans with his hands shackled behind his back, as prosecutors read the murder charges in court.

His right hand had a deep gash closed with stitches between the thumb and forefinger.

No plea was taken and he was taken away in a police car within minutes of his appearance.

Prosecutors said investigations were continuing. Iskandar will reappear in court next Monday.

Iskandar, once portrayed as a model officer on the Singapore Police Force website, abandoned the older victim's car and fled to Malaysia by scooter. He was arrested within two days in neighbouring Johor state and repatriated on Saturday.

Singapore media said the suspect, a married 14-year veteran of the force, was bankrupt and under an official investigation for failing to report his personal financial problems to his superiors. He was banned from carrying firearms at the time of the killings.

There was no immediate indication of a motive for the murders. But a police spokesman confirmed reports that Iskandar had attended to a theft complaint filed by the elder Tan in November last year, after which the sergeant was reassigned to another position.

The case has shocked Singapore, a densely populated island of 5.3 million people which prides itself on its low crime rate. The number of murders hit a 20-year low of 11 in 2012, down from 16 in 2011.

In a weekend statement, Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said: "Our police force and every policeman and policewoman is tarred by the actions of this single officer.

"We have now captured Officer Iskandar and we will prosecute him to the maximum extent. He is a murder suspect and will eventually receive just deserts for the heinous crime that he is accused of committing," the police chief added. bjp/rc/sm

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