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5 SCDF officers take pictures of incident instead of mitigating situation to avoid death

The photo, which has been circulating on social media, shows a Bionix on top of a crushed Land Rover. SCDF personnel and an ambulance can be seen in the background

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Aside from Captain Ong Lin Jie, a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officer who was charged with one count of doing a rash act causing the death of full-time national serviceman (NSF) Liu Kai, five other people were also accused of leaking photographs of the incident and were charged with wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act.

The photo, which has been circulating on social media, shows a Bionix on top of a crushed Land Rover. SCDF personnel and an ambulance can be seen in the background.

Muhammad Arif Azman and Mohamad Haikal Mohamad Zainal Abiddin, two of the five people accused of leaking the photographs, were doing their National Service with the SCDF at the time of the incident.

“(They) were at the scene where they took photographs of the incident and disseminated them via WhatsApp,” said the police.

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Arif, 22, faces two charges – sending two photographs of the accident to 23 other people in a WhatsApp group chat and failing to comply with his captain’s orders to delete the photographs from his phone.

Haikal, 20, was charged with sending five photographs of the incident to the group chat. He faces an additional two charges of sending the photographs to two people separately on WhatsApp.

The other three accused, Brandon Tan Jien Jet, 21, Thng Yu Xuan, 21, and Muhammad Zaki Haji Mokhtar, 23, received the photos and shared them, despite knowing that it was  “sensitive official information.”

If convicted of wrongful communication of official information, the five can be fined up to S$2,000 and jailed for up to two years.

Haikal is scheduled to return to court on Nov 22. Arif, Tan, Thng and Zaki have indicated that they intend to plead guilty.

Official Secrets Act

The Official Secrets Act is a terminology used in Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom for legislation that provides for the protection of state secrets and official information, mainly related to national security.

In Singapore, the Official Secrets Act (Cap. 213, 2012 Rev. Ed.) prohibits the disclosure of official documents and information.The Act was first introduced to Singapore in 1935 as the Official Secrets Ordinance. Section 5 of the Act prohibits the wrongful communication of information that is considered sensitive by the government. -/TISG

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