Independent Committee of Inquiry to be convened for late NSF whose family demands “full explanation”

Photo: Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY

Brigadier-General Siew Kum Wong, Chief of Staff – General Staff confirmed last night that an independent Committee of Inquiry (COI) will be convened to look into the death of 19-year-old NSF Dave Lee Han Xuan.

Private Lee was conveyed to Changi General Hospital (CGH) on 18 April due to heat-related injuries, after an 8km fast march at Bedok Camp. The Guardsman from the 1st Battalion Singapore Guards fell into a coma and spent 12 days at CGH’s Intensive Care Unit as his condition worsened, before he passed away at 5.32pm on Monday, a mere 10 days after this 19th birthday.

Revealing that the COI will be chaired by a senior civil servant from outside the Ministry of Defence and Singapore Armed Forces, Brigadier-General Siew said in a statement on Facebook that if training safety violations are uncovered in the inquiry, the personnel found responsible will be held accountable.

The COI will have full powers and access to both information and personnel during its investigation so that it can uncover the contributing factors that led to Private lee’s death and outline recommendations to correct any lapses if any come to light.

Adding that Private Lee will be accorded a military funeral and will be awarded the Guards and Recon military tabs, as well as the Guards beret he had been training for, Brigadier-General Siew revealed that Private Lee also received posthumous recognition of the rank of Corporal First Class.

He added: “The Army will do our utmost to support his family in this time of grief.”

The Army is saddened by the passing of the late PTE Lee Han Xuan Dave, and extend our deepest condolences to his family….

Posted by The Singapore Army on Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Brigadier-General Siew’s post on The Singapore Army Facebook page comes after Dave’s aunts appealed to the authorities to release a full, public explanation into what caused their nephew’s passing.

This, after a letter by an anonymous soldier detailing what allegedly happened that night began circulating online. The author of the viral letter claims that Lee was “forced” to complete the fast march even though he showed clear signs of severe heat exhaustion.

The alleged soldier also claimed that “the commanders did not follow the proper protocol for a soldier in heat exhaution” and “to add insult to injury, the sergeants were just surrounding him, talking cock and laughing and cracking jokes around him, obviously thinking the soldier is trying to keng.”

Meanwhile, several past and present guardsmen have replaced their Facebook profile picture with either a photo of a Guards logo against a black ribbon or a photo of the Guards military tab. Several netizens have also switched their profile pictures to black and white photos of Private Lee.


  1. “Revealing that the COI will be chaired by a senior civil servant from outside the Ministry of Defence and Singapore Armed Forces, Brigadier-General Siew said in a statement on Facebook that if training safety violations are uncovered in the inquiry, the personnel found responsible will be held accountable.”

    This is another wayang lah! Civil servants all come under gov-sg and as I always said any commision appointed by gov-sg to investigate anything to do with gov-sg is or will be a farce!

    Indication is already found in this clause “the personnel found responsible will be held accountable.” The gov is responsible because that person is acting for the gov.

  2. The personnel found responsible will be held accountable. ..Who runs the SAF. .?? Who pass down order and instructions. .??
    It came from the Top right down to his immediate supervisor. So the whole Top SAF…Commander and his supervisors are responsible for his death.
    Please do justice for the loss of this young man’s life…

    • The chief of Defence force…the commander of his command…all other officers and army personnel directly involved in the cause of his death are all culpable and should be dealt with according to the Penal law…culpable homicide of this young man. Let justice take its course with fear or favour.

    • Just 1 MP from WP ? What for ? Look at the DOF saga, Pritam Singh got no chance to speak, Shanmugam is the only speaker there, what panel ? Nonsense ! Put all WP MPs to question during the COI, that will ensure some semblance of impartiality, no ?

  3. Accountability is a fickle mistress…on one hand, paper generals are deemed good enough to become CEOs, perm secs or ministers purely off their “achievements” in the military but none are ever responsible or accountable when there are major screw ups during their tenure which lead to loss of life. I know life is unfair but without strong moral foundation – carved out from sharing the accountibility like the ordinary man – should we be be expected to accept their leadership in any form?

  4. Yes indeed; personnel found responsible will be held accountable – those rank and file section trainers or commanders… how about the top guy in that battalion who had allowed this to happened? Even so, demotion? And then promoted again a couple of years later? We are talking about a life lost; someone is now without a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, and a good friend. Hope this time the authorities are acting accountably to the unfortunate family and the nation. It could have been my son…

    • And any other! Trust must be restored at any expense! Looking at his happy self and now deceased, really saddens a parent to the core!!! To the responsible who caused this, there is no price enough to pay for this deed! Not even with their own! For there is no need for such lost in the 1st place. Army or no army!

  5. In such a hot weather and with Singapore being so strict with Safety, is there a regulation saying after a certain temperature, all outdoor activities are forbidden. Or if after a certain period of strengthous exercise, a short rest is given and the trainer must ensure every trainees drink enough water with added hydrates pills to prevent fainting spell.

  6. If the SAF can go about punishing junior ranking serviceman hard sonthat not only the punished ones learn their lesson and make all others be awre of the repercussions, so when the death of a soldier happens, all commanders e.g. CO, OC, Safety Officers, Supervising Officers MUST BE PUNISHED. AS LONG AS NEDLIGENCE IS THE CAUSE OF IT, ALL RESPONSIBLED MUST BE STRIPPED OF THEIR RANK, APPTS & KICKED OUT OF THE FORCES. IF SUCH A THINGVWERE TO HAPPEN TO ANY HIGH PROFILE PEOPLE’S SON, HOW? WHI H BY THE WAY HAS NO CHANCE OF HAPPENING.

  7. The top must be punish so that they will make sure that there is no more prevailing fault. Such measure should be across the whole army top guy to be apprised that they will share the blame and not only the below rank. Ironically, you can still let the top shake their balls n get promoted, after all the people cant do anything about it because this is Singapore

  8. Be guai lan like Amos yee but be constructive. If things really serious enough but people don’t care, then escalate the matter to co or above. Then things will be resolve and change. Sometimes in life we need to speak up for the good of others and ourselves. Don’t need to be scare about getting charge or penalize.

    The more you scare, the more people will bully you.

  9. To SAF please all course for officer or NCO must cover a how to take care his own man not just train to lead man , u don’t care your man how to lead your man???? Use force use extra duty ?? Learn to listen to your man listen to view whether is your man is ready sick or not don’t first in your mind they “Keng” look u r some body son they too