5 SCDF personnel to be charged over death of NSF found in fire station pump well after ragging incident

Corporal Kok Yuen Chin died after he was found unconscious inside a pump well at Tuas View Fire Station on May 13, 2018.
PHOTO: Lianhe Wanbao, SCDF

SINGAPORE - Five Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel will be charged on Wednesday (July 25) in relation to the death of full-time national serviceman Corporal Kok Yuen Chin.

They are Mohammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood, 33; Mohamed Farid Mohamed Saleh, 34; Kenneth Chong Chee Boon, 37; Nazhan Mohamed Nazi, 40; and Adighazali Suhaimi, 32.

Staff Sergeant Mohammad Nur Fatwa will be charged for a rash act causing death and abetting the obstruction of the course of justice by instigation.

First Warrant Officer Mohamed Farid will be charged for abetting a rash act causing death.

Lieutenant Chong and First Senior Warrant officer Nazhan will each be charged with abetting a rash act causing grievous hurt by illegal omission.

Staff sergeant Adighazali will be charged for intentionally obstructing the course of justice.

SCDF NSF dies after being found unconscious at bottom of fire station's pump well

  • Singapore Civil Defence Force full-time national serviceman (NSF) Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, 22, drowned after he got into the well, following a celebration for his impending operationally ready date.
  • He was found unconscious inside the pump well on May 15, 2018 and taken to hospital.
  • The wake was held in Malacca for SCDF NS man Corporal Kok Yuen Chin.
  • 4th div commander Michael Chua, Commissioner Eric yap,Commander fire station of Tuas view Huang weikang, Mother Wong siew Fong, Father: Kok Meng Hwa
  • CPL Kok, a permanent resident (PR) in Singapore, was from Malacca, Malaysia, and had harboured hopes of settling down in Singapore.
  • The fire station pump well at Tuas View Fire Station.
  • The pump well is a reservoir of water used for training and testing of fire engine pumps.
  • After his body was recovered, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was immediately administered on CPL Kok, and an automated external defibrillator was also used.
  • CPL Kok was conveyed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where he was subsequently pronounced dead. The incident happened three days before CPL Kok’s ORD.
  • His father, Mr Kok Ming Hua, 56, said that he suspected that his son had sustained injuries while falling into the pump well.
  • CPL Kok had earlier confided in his family, worried about the ritual as he was not a good swimmer.
  • The Central Manpower Base’s website states that being able to swim is a skill required of all recruits in the basic training curriculum.

The police said in a statement on Wednesday that they have referred eight other officers who were present during the incident to the SCDF for departmental investigations.

Cpl Kok, 22, died after he was found unconscious inside a pump well at Tuas View Fire Station on May 13.

The Singapore permanent resident had been celebrating his impending operationally ready date with his squad mates, which involved him getting into the pump well as part of ragging activities. He would have completed his service in two days.

A day after his death, two regular SCDF officers were arrested in relation to the incident and also suspended from service on half-pay pending the outcome of investigations.

The duo - a First Warrant Officer and a Staff Sergeant - were Cpl Kok's colleagues who worked on the same shift duty at the fire station.

Shortly after the arrests, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that four more officers were under investigation and had their promotions withheld as a result.

A Board of Inquiry (BOI) was convened to look into Cpl Kok's death and to make recommendations to prevent similar incidents. The board is chaired by a senior director from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The BOI also includes members who are not from the MHA or the SCDF, and will submit its report to the Minister of Home Affairs.

Following Cpl Kok's death the SCDF beefed up its anti-ragging measures, including installing metal grating across the openings of fire-station pump wells to prevent unauthorised access.

Other measures include the expansion of closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera coverage at SCDF premises to deter and detect unauthorised activities.

Anyone convicted of a rash act causing death may face a jail term of up to five years, a fine, or both.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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