A shop selling military merchandise, Hock Gift Shop, was warned by police that they were not allowed to sell SPF keychains and mini rank patches.
According to the shop owner, the police told them to destroy and dispose of all existing stock in their warehouse. Feeling scared, the owner’s elderly parents complied.
The incident happened in April last year.
As other shops were also selling similar items, the owner felt suspicious. When he went down to Bedok NPC to check, officers there verified that those officers were indeed police officers and they did not need a warrant to issue warnings.
After emailing SPF and posting on their Facebook page without getting any response, 2 police officers came to the shop on 10 Feb 2022 to clarify that making the keychains was not a breach as they cannot be used to replace anything on the police uniform. They said they regretted what happened and would be sending an official letter to the shop.
This is the full story:
On 8 April 2021, ASP Lim Wai Leong Lynyrd came to our shop with 2 other Police officers to warn & instruct us to immediately stop making these SPF Keychains & Mini Rank Patches. He say even if it’s Police ask you to make also cannot make. & instructed us to destroy & dispose all the existing stock in our warehouse. Said there would not be a 2nd warning, the next round he come would be to arrest us with court order & go for sentencing.
I ask him, why only our shop cannot make & sell these? all other shops can make & sell? ASP Lim Wai Leong Lynyrd replied me very sternly, “i’m here to warn you about you are not allowed to make & sell these keychains, if you wish to complain why only your shop cannot sell, why other shops can sell?? you go lodge a police report yourself. ALL THESE SPF, SCDF, ICA, CUSTOMS, all that are related to the ministry of home affairs all cannot make & need to dispose.”
My elderly parents were so scared & felt really threatened by the way he talk to us. after he left, all of us took scissors to cut & destroyed all the existing stock that we have in the shop, & put them in 2 big trash bags & dump into the trash bin. Also immediately deleted all listing on our social media, Online store, Shopee, Lazada, Qoo10 platforms.
On 9 April 2021, I went down to Tampines NPC which ASP Lim Wai Leong Lynyrd quoted he was from this station, however all 3 police officers on duty did not heard of this person at the station. So I wanted to lodge a police report in case we were being scammed. but the police officer did not allow me to do a police report at the counter, & instructed me to use a PC in the station to do it myself.
2-3 weeks after making the police report, there was no response.
On 26 April 2021, I went down to Bedok NPC. the police officers on duty, made the effort to help me verified that ASP Lim Wai Leong Lynyrd is really an active police officer at Tampines NPC. so they advice me that any instruction that an ASP say to you is correct in the law, ASP is like a walking warrant, he do not need a Warrant paper to go to your shop to give you such warnings. no police report was made on that day. I told them I’ve made a police report on 9 April 2021, but now 3 weeks already still no response. Police Officers @ Bedok NPC advice me, usually such case would take some time for investigation.
I waited until 1 June 2021, still no response, so I brought the case up to Public Affairs, emailed all the Police officers that i could find in their official website. on 2nd June 2021, I’ve received a some kinda automated email from Bedok NPC stating
Dear Mr Chua
We refer to your email to SPF’s Public Affairs Department dated 1 Jun 2021.
2 We note the issues you have raised and the matter is receiving our attention. A reply will be provided in due course.
3 In the meantime, should you require any clarification you may contact Bedok Division’s Service Quality Branch at 6244-7009 or email: [email protected].
& there was no response ever since then.Next I brought the case onto SPF Official Facebook Page, I thought there are over 600K followers on this page, might have someone could see my report & hopefully could help us. describing the entire incident, leaving my contact details, but still complete silence.
Till today, all other shops are still selling all these mini keychains.
Suddenly on 9 Feb 2022, I’ve received 4 miscalls from an unknown number yesterday. when I got back to office, my parents told me 2 police officers came down to look for you. they say is regarding the SPF mini Keychain case. they called me again in the evening & schedule a meeting at my shop on 10 Feb 2022, 1pm.
Today (10 Feb 2022) 1pm, 2 police officers came down to our shop. they say they have check with government legal adviser, & was told that there is no breaching of law making these keychains, as these keychains cannot be used to replace anything on the police uniform as replica. They were regretted about what happened to our shop, as this law was very new & they receive information that Hock Gift Shop is against this new law. However after checking with the government legal adviser, it is fine to make these mini keychain & rank patches. they say would send us an official letter regarding what they have spoken to us today.
not sure who is going to compensate us on all these losses on goods, material cost, manpower cost, daily recurring business revenue from our loyal customers who likes to make these keychains to give their colleagues as souvenirs, Business reputation damage, mental health damage