Teen falls to death while fleeing Hougang flat

SINGAPORE - A teen forced to stay inside a flat as punishment for stealing $700 from his father died after falling from a fifth-floor window while trying to get out.

An inquest heard yesterday that Ong Wen Bin, 18, was found at the foot of Block 955, Hougang Avenue 9, conscious and in pain. He died in hospital about four hours later during surgery.

The court heard that Wen Bin's parents were divorced and had been living apart since 2010.

He was living with his 56-year-old mother in a Tampines flat and would visit his father at the Hougang unit four to five times a week.

Wen Bin, who was born with a learning disability, went to the unit, owned by his uncle, at about noon on June 7. When he told his father, Mr Ong Tan Chye, 68, that he wanted to leave, Mr Ong refused, saying he would have to stay until his mother came to fetch him. Wen Bin sent a text message to his uncle at 1.22pm and called his mother 16 minutes later, claiming his father threatened to beat and kill him. She did not take him seriously, but decided to go to the flat. She arrived later and learnt from Mr Ong what had happened.

Mr Ong claimed that he did not allow his son to leave because he wanted to punish him for stealing $700 four days earlier. The money was returned after he rebuked his son. The court heard that just before the incident, Mr Ong came out of the toilet and saw Wen Bin standing on a coffee table next to the open balcony window. He gave no answer when his father asked him what he was doing. Before Mr Ong got to the balcony, his son leapt out.

State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid said there was no evidence of foul play implicating the father or evidence that the deceased had suicidal ideas before he fell.

This story appeared on MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.