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HomesingaporepoliticsPM Lee sends condolences to wife of longest-serving ISD director Lim Chye...

PM Lee sends condolences to wife of longest-serving ISD director Lim Chye Heng, who died at age 93

SINGAPORE – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has sent his condolences to the wife of Singapore’s longest-serving Internal Security Department (ISD) director, Mr Lim Chye Heng, who died on Nov 21, aged 93.

In a condolence letter addressed to his wife, Madam Tan Chooi Gek, PM Lee recalled several highlights of Mr Lim’s career in security and intelligence work, including his role as ISD director from 1975 to 1982, and the large part he played in Singapore’s fight against communism in the 1970s.

In a letter posted on the Prime Minister’s Facebook page on Nov 27, Mr Lee said Mr Lim was instrumental in curbing the revived Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) threat during the 1970s. “Communist underground cadres and sympathisers were then active in Singapore – recruiting new members, spreading its ideology, and providing material support to communist guerrillas in Malaysia. Under Mr Lim’s watch, more than 700 communist underground activists were arrested and neutralised in successive security operations,” he wrote.

PM Lee noted that Mr Lim dedicated his professional life to public service and served with distinction for 30 years.

Mr Lim joined the Singapore Police Force in 1952. He was part of a five-man homicide squad formed in 1956 by the Criminal Investigation Department following a spate of murders, PM Lee noted.

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One of Mr Lim’s first assignments was to investigate the simultaneous bomb attacks on three police stations carried out by the communist underground.

He was then posted to the Special Branch, which was later renamed ISD, in 1962, when the CPM posed a serious security threat.

“The communist united front had infiltrated student groups, political parties, trade unions and cultural organisations,” PM Lee said, adding that Mr Lim was responsible for investigating and carrying out operations against them. He also investigated Indonesian saboteurs during Konfrontasi.

Following a major reorganisation of the intelligence community in 1966, Mr Lim was posted to the Security and Intelligence Division (SID) in the Ministry of the Interior and Defence, where he later became deputy director.

Mr Lim returned to ISD as its director on Jan 1, 1975, where he sharpened ISD’s operational capabilities and deepened relations with foreign intelligence services to deal with the security challenges of the day, said PM Lee.

This included playing a leading role in the Air Vietnam hijacking incident in October 1977, when four armed Vietnamese hijackers forced the pilot of a full Air Vietnam flight to land at Seletar Airport in an attempt to flee communist Vietnam.

Mr Lim led his team in negotiations with the hijackers and persuaded them to surrender their weapons and give themselves up.

For Mr Lim’s numerous contributions, he was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 1973.

“Those who worked with Mr Lim attest to his tough discipline, strong work ethic and exacting standards. He held himself – and his colleagues – to the highest professional standards.

“His numerous contributions in security and intelligence, most of which must remain confidential, ensured the stability and security of our nation,” said PM Lee.

According to his obituary, Mr Lim is survived by his wife, three children and three granddaughters.

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