Ming is a 24-year-old male repeat offender who was arrested for possession and consumption of cannabis. He was previously ordered to reside in the Singapore Boys’ Home (SBH) and subsequently sentenced to the Reformative Training Centre (RTC) for rioting and assaulting staff at SBH.
Ming has a background of complex intrafamilial abuse as well as a long history of misconduct in school. He is the oldest child at home and has two other younger stepsisters. His mother suffered from major depression and died of suicide when Ming was four years old. His father remarried a year later. Ming’s father was very strict towards him and would often use a cane or a hanger to discipline him. Whenever Ming retaliated physically against his father, he would be deprived of food consequently. Ming also reported having poor relationships with his stepmother and stepsisters.
At 11 years old, Ming’s father sent him away to stay with his grandparents in a one-bedroom HDB flat, citing Ming’s frequent lying and explosive behaviors as the main reasons. Although Ming had become attached to his grandmother, she passed away unexpectedly the following year. His grandfather called Ming a “jinx” and they never talked to each other at home ever since. To cope with the losses, Ming would drink cough syrup and use a pen knife to cut his
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In school, Ming started skipping classes when he was 10 years old. He would engage in frequent fights with his classmates and picked on schoolmates that he perceived as “nerds”. He was caught vandalising school property and stealing his classmates’ money. He shared with his school counsellor that he assaulted his classmates because “they had betrayed him”. He also told his school counsellor that his victims “deserved to suffer”. He was informally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, due to his pattern of engaging in impulsive, risky, and self-harming behaviours, being in unstable and intense relationships, having a fear of abandonment and betrayal, and his frequent experience of explosive anger and unstable emotions.
At 14 years old, Ming was suspended from school after he was discovered selling pornography materials to his peers. He dropped out of school at age 15 and started working as a mover. At age 16, Ming joined a youth gang and started experimenting with different illicit substances. He rose to rank in his gang and was arrested for cutting off his victim’s finger during a gang
Ming was involved in several romantic relationship, but none of his relationships lasted more than 6 months.
Inmates who knew Ming described him as an unpredictable and aggressive man who had a strong need for control. Sometimes, Ming appeared energetic and cheerful. Sometimes Ming appeared angry and suicidal. Prison officers found Ming impulsive and erratic and would act in dangerous ways without regard for others or possible consequences.
Recently, Ming failed his drug supervision test, and was thus arrested by the police for possession and consumption of cannabis.
a) Analyse the significant risk factors that contributed to Ming’s offending behaviours.
b) There appears to be strong evidence against Ming. Assuming you are an investigation officer assigned to this case, apply your understanding of investigative interviewing to Ming. Discuss the investigative interview approach that you would use with Ming and examine how this approach may overcome some of the potential challenges faced in the interview with Ming.
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