19 July 2015
Mr Sum Cheong Kee, MSF

For Mr Sum Cheong Kee, meeting offenders is an everyday occurrence. Convicted of crimes ranging from drug trafficking to rioting, these offenders are sometimes as young as 15.

I ’ve been with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) for the past 40 years. I served as a Housemaster in the Boys’ Home for 10 years, and as a Child Protection Officer for another 10 years. In the last 20 years, I served as a Probation Officer. Having been in the profession for such a long period, there were many fond memories and of course, some heartbreak. 

I had a client who, at the age of 20, was charged with drug consumption and trafficking in 2012. The minimum penalty for the offence was five years imprisonment and five strokes of the cane. Despite the risk inherent in his offence, I recommended for him to be put on probation with a stringent set of conditions for him to abide by. The Senior District Judge agreed, although there were objections from the prosecutor. The probationer did not fail the Court. He did so well that he earned an early discharge in January this year. He has been accepted into university and started pursuing his law degree recently.

Another of my ex-probationers was put on probation for rioting when he was 15 years old. After he completed his probation, we lost touch. Some 17 years later, I received an email from him. He had studied hard for an accountancy certification, was doing well as an accountant and was happily married with children. He was eventually hired as a fund manager, managing millions of dollars. We met up for lunch. He said to me, “I hope you can see that what you did as part of your daily job can certainly have an important impact in a person’s life.”

Making a difference in their lives is rewarding for me.
 

Mr Sum Cheong Kee
Senior Probation Officer
Ministry of Social and Family Development
 
This story was first posted on the PSD Facebook page on 20 July 2015.

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