Young officer awarded for stellar work in high-profile cases
More than 400 awards were given out yesterday by the Police Commissioner to law enforcement officers for outstanding work and leadership. ELIZABETH LAW (firstname.lastname@example.org) and HARIZ BAHARUDDIN (email@example.com) speak to some of the winners
At 29, Assistant Superintendent of Police Cyndi Koh is the youngest officer in a team of special investigators.
Solving murders and looking for dead bodies is not exactly what someone with a degree in environmental engineering would be associated with.
But ASP Koh has done stellar work in the field and was yesterday given the individual commendation award for her accomplishments in the Special Investigation Section (SIS) of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
ASP Koh was among the winners commended by Commissioner Hoong Wee Teck at a ceremony at the Home Team Academy.
Among the other recipients was a team of casino crime busters.
ASP Koh has been involved in several high-profile cases, such as the body parts murder where a man's legless body was found in a suitcase at Syed Alwi Road last June.
But it was the killing of Mr Dexmon Chua that left the greatest impression on her because it was the first case she took on as lead investigator just three months after joining the SIS.
On Dec 28, 2013, Mr Chua went to buy dinner for his family and did not return home.
His family filed a missing person report the next day.
The SIS is called to investigate only the most serious of crimes, such as murder and kidnapping.
The first suspect, Chia Kee Chen, 53, was arrested shortly after.
The second suspect, Chua Leong Aik, 64, was arrested on Jan 8, 2013.
ASP Koh said: "It was very challenging because I had arrested two suspects for murder, but I could not find the body.
"But when I did, it was a mix of relief and shock.
"Relief because it meant we now have evidence to bring justice for Dexmon, but shock because I did not expect to find the body in that state."
On New Year's Day, Chia led the police to Mr Chua's body at a military training area near Sungei Gedong Camp.
It was hidden in thick, tall grass next to a gravel-covered dirt track about 150m from the road.
Mr Chua's hands were bound and his T-shirt was pulled over his head.
By then, early decomposition had set in.
As lead investigator, ASP Koh had to be at the scene of the crime while her colleagues broke the news to Mr Chua's family, who were hoping he was still alive.
Both Chia and Chua have been charged with Mr Chua's murder. The matter is still before the courts.
Such is the nature of investigative work, ASP Koh said.
She has to be on-call 24/7.
She has missed family occasions like New Year's Day celebrations.
But it is her colleagues' passion that spurs her on.
She said: "During my work as an investigation officer, I got to work with colleagues who were professional and skilled, which inspired me to want to do better.
"This award shows that my contribution was not left unnoticed and it spurs me to excel even further in my work."
About the ceremony
The Commissioner of Police's Commendation Ceremony was held at the Home Team Academy yesterday.
Police Commissioner Hoong Wee Teck presented 178 individual commendation, 242 team commendation and five high commendation awards.
Among the recipients were five members of the public who volunteered in crime prevention, and in the promotion of police and community relations.