SCDF NSF was allegedly ragged into entering well; Law Minister calls for full audit in first such death

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A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time national serviceman (NSF) died yesterday after he was found unconscious at the bottom of Tuas View fire station pump well.

The Force revealed in a statement today that the NSF, Corporal (CPL) Kok Yuen Chin, had gone into the pump well to celebrate his impending ORD with his squad mates. It added that a “mishap” arose due to activities which are prohibited and that two SCDF regulars were arrested today by the police.

A later media report revealed that it is believed the NSF, who was due to ORD this Wednesday, was ragged into entering the well. An unknown source allegedly contacted TNP and reported that ragging is typically done to mark an NSF’s end in the Force.

Ragging in the SCDF can allegedly include acts such as pinning an NSF to the ground and applying boot polish to their skin or even throwing an NSF into a pool. Ragging is banned in the Force though it is reportedly still carried out.

It remains unclear how CPL Kok entered the well.

Meanwhile, Law Minister K Shanmugam has called for an audit to look into CPL Kk’s untimely death. The Minister told reporters that the “conduct of some of the people involved” was in “clear violation” of the SCDF’s rules and called the incident a “celebration gone wrong” that resulted in the “tragic loss” of a “young man full of potential”.

He added: “The facts I’ve been given so far, they make it quite clear that conduct was quite wrong of some of the people involved. It was in clear violation of SCDF’s rules, it should not have happened, unacceptable, period…Details will be released in due course.”

The Minister further said: “I’ve also asked SCDF to do an audit. Any other evidence of such conduct, take action, because we have to send a clear message…Action has been taken before when conduct which is not sanctioned has taken place, celebrations or otherwise. But after a while, people forget and break the rules again.”

Shanmugam, who had met Kok’s family earlier today, did not wish to “give a descriptor to the incident” at this time, when he was asked whether this was a case of ragging gone wrong. SCDF deputy commissioner Chong Hoi Hung confirmed that this is the first such death.

Chong added: “SCDF will not condone unauthorised activities and we have been telling our commanders to brief the men properly to ensure they do not (commit them)”:

Shanmugam on SCDF NSF's death

FULL VIDEO: Singapore Civil Defence Force NSF died as a result of "celebrations gone wrong"; incident was a "clear violation of SCDF rules", Minister K Shanmugam Sc tells reporters.

Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Monday, 14 May 2018

This incident comes just two weeks after an army NSF passed away after “displaying signs of heat injury” at Bedok Camp.

NSF Dave Lee Han Xuan, was conveyed to Changi General Hospital (CGH) on 18 April 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 his 19th birthday.

 

35 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s face it, we are a nation of bullies from forcing people to overdrink at weddings, crazy road antics, company politics to ragging in schools and now even a uniformed organisation.

    Unfortunately our society has a herd mentality bc most Singaporeans lack the self-confidence to withstand peer pressure, and some friends lack the courage and moral backbone to stand with them.

    The first and foremost lesson these days is to teach your child how to resist peer pressure and do what’s best for themselves.

  2. What is the use after life loss then start look in to improvement. Singaporeans service NS by law not by volunteers. Leader have the duty to ensure every NS man book out for home . Not only book in to service. We Singaporeans must mindset in 2020

  3. My youngest son now serving SCDF NS fireman. I hope commanders will remind all regulars and NS not to celebrate privately for last service day ORD and to implement 5 years jail term for any lost of life or injury for the culprits irregardless of rank and service status

    I am still worry and I think is better for me to email to SCDF comissioner one week before my son ORD to remind of this incident

    Worried parent
    Former SCDF NS from the 7th intake

  4. Always whistleblow and feedback all problems and wrongdoings to your key officers. Don’t need to scare about getting charge and penalize. If you don’t stop this kind of thing fast, one day sure will resulted as this.

    Don’t need to scare about how powerful the person is, as he/she is just a human like you regardless of his/her status. If the top cannot make things just, then is the job of the majority commoners like us to make things right.

    Even though we get enslave by them into the force for 2 years, this doesn’t mean that we have no human rights at all, at the end of the day we are the taxpayers that have the power to vote them out and voicing out.

  5. “Ragging is banned in the Force though it is reportedly still carried out”. It means someone is having his/her eyes shut willfully. If a Sgt and a warrant officer are arrested, that means such antics run deep cos its reportedly still carried out!!! Time for parents to make unit commanders sit down and give them a peace of our mind.

    • Same with safety regulations

      As long as there’s no active enforcements, it’s as good as non existent

      Now the million dollar question is why is there lax enforcement? Maybe because there’s no accountability to the top

      IMHO if the top feels the heat, you can bet that they will enforce these strictly

  6. It’s so sad another serviceman has die. Just weeks ago, it was a army guy and MINDEF is still looking into the cause of death. Now a SCDF man died. I hope the authority (MHA) will look into this matter and ensure we don’t lose another serviceman while serving the country. I have 2 boys who will be serving the country in the next couple of years time. As a parent, I am very concern.

  7. The government should ban all forms of inhuman treatment of enlistees in SAF, SCDF and PNS. Such methods of training are archaic and should be outlawed. When parents ill treat their children, they are charged with child abuse. Similar action should be given to trainers of enlistees. Any trainers found subjecting enlistees to ragging in whatever forms should be arrested and charged.

  8. Too bad tis case came about as early as the poor army boy’s death.now Shan can divert all attention here rather than focus on the other case which I felt will be soon swept under carpet.hopefully not,I pity the army boy family whom wanta to seek justice.

  9. Dr Ng Eng Hen, in his parliamentary speech on 5 March 2007, claims the following:
    Our basic underlying approach is not to wait for incidents to occur, but to reduce risks to minimize the chance of these incidents occurring. And this is the reason why we have instituted open reporting and tracking mechanisms. In other words, units are actively encouraged, commanders encourage their soldiers to report hazards, near misses, safety breaches, and at-risk behaviours. And this allows us to take immediate corrective action. In addition, trends are analysed to identify potential trouble spots where we can take corrective actions. One finds there is an increasing number of near misses reported. We take it that this shows that there is an open reporting culture is indeed taking root in the Army.

    Q: If so, why such dangerous practices like the ones in SCDF still thrive unnoticed until now?