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In January this year, Deputy Superintendant of Police (DSP) Gail Wong '04 received the Operational Excellence Awards for outstanding performance and excellent teamwork in the rescue of an elderly kidnap victim, and the subsequent arrest of the suspects. She was also a familiar face of the local Crime Watch programme some years ago. Fresh from basking in the glow of her latest achievement, DSP Wong tells us of her inspirations and memories of law school. 

LawLink: What inspired you to pursue a career in law enforcement?

DSP Wong: One of my childhood ambitions was to be a detective – possibly after reading too many crime novels! Later, I was blessed to have an opportunity to do an internship with the Singapore Police Force while waiting for my ‘A’ level results. It was then that I saw many different facets of police work, and felt that this was where I could make a real difference to better the lives of others. As such, I took on a police scholarship, and later got accepted to study law at NUS.

Since graduation in 2004, aside from working in the police force as an investigator, patrol team leader and as a staff officer, I also had the opportunity to be seconded to the Attorney-General’s Chambers as a Deputy Public Prosecutor, where I experienced another aspect of the criminal justice system.

These experiences have deepened my appreciation of how the law actually affects the lives of different people: victims, accused persons, witnesses, next-of-kin, lawyers, prosecutors, and social workers. As a police officer, I have the opportunity to prevent crime and resolve cases upstream, before the cases even get to the stage of criminal proceedings where someone has already been hurt or someone may be punished – which is not the most positive outcome.

As a law student, I was perplexed by how our system could achieve a conviction rate of about 90 percent (then) and wondered if it was because the odds are against an accused person. However, I now realise that in part, this is achievable because some cases have already been diverted out of the criminal justice system at an early stage. I hope that more law students will be able to appreciate that the criminal justice system is not just about going to Court. The satisfaction from resolving a case is not something which money can buy.

You’d be surprised, but investigators sometimes receive notes of appreciation from accused persons as well, and the situation is not as acrimonious (with defence counsel) as you might imagine from reading the law reports.

LawLink: How does it feel to receive the recent Operational Excellence Awards?

DSP Wong: I’m happy that our work is appreciated, but more than that, happy that the case was resolved successfully with the victim safe and sound. 

LawLink: What is the most exciting/thrilling experience you’ve had since you joined the police force?

DSP Wong: It’s certainly been very colourful. One of the funnier experiences I remember is having my team arrest an armed robber who wore a stocking over his head while one of the most thrilling times was an investigation into a serial flasher. We had worked on the case for several months and there were few leads. One night he appeared. He literally walked into a bush to wait for his victim, and we were ambushing just behind him. It was an exciting feeling, and memorable for being an ambush on a bush.

LawLink: What is your best memory of law school?

DSP Wong: Definitely Orientation/Rag and Flag – it really brought us all much closer as a class: beach activities at Sentosa, blind-fold walk around the Kent Ridge campus, filming short sketches … which provided much fodder for future blackmail. I still have the videos which don’t play, but nothing some forensic processing won’t resolve. I also fondly remember those of us who were in Canada for exchange, making the effort to travel from various parts of Canada just to get together in Halifax for Chinese New Year. It was a really heart-warming feeling. It was also the longest Chinese New Year reunion dinner ever, because we only finished cooking at about 10 pm! We were too ambitious with the menu..

LawLink: If you could change one thing about your law school days, what would it be?

DSP Wong: Spend more time on supper with the rest. It’s a real luxury not to have to watch the clock and think about going to work the next day!

  This Issue Dean's Diary Alumni Faculty Students Reunions Class Action

 

 

 

 

Inter Year Games

 

 

Hanging out in the hall