More than a year after the fatal incident that claimed the life of Corporal First Class Liu Kai (22), three former full time national servicemen (NSF) from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) have been fined for leaking and sharing photos of Liu’s death.
Muhammad Arif Azman (22) was fined S$3,000 while Brandon Tan Jien Jet (21) and Muhammad Zaki Mokhtar (24) were fined S$1,500 each.
Arif took two photos of the scene and reportedly refused to delete the photos from his phone when ordered by his supervisor.
Tan forwarded two photos to six people while Zaki sent two photos of the incident to his brother.
Former NSF Thng Yu Xuan (21) also faces charges for sending four photos to five people through WhatsApp.
As initially reported by Today, another former NSF Mohamad Haikal Mohamad Zainal Abiddin’s (21) case remains pending. He was charged with taking five photos of the scene and sharing these with two persons on WhatsApp.
They were charged with wrongful communication of information and could have faced two years in jail and fined up to S$2,000.
Private Liu died in a field training exercise involving a Bionix armoured vehicle last November 3, 2018.
One of the photos shared on social media depicted a Bionix on top of a crushed Land Rover. SCDF personnel and an ambulance can be seen in the background.
Investigations found that Arif, Haikal, and Tng were deployed to help release Liu from being trapped.
Arif, however, took two photos of the incident first. Haikal then reportedly took five more pictures which included the licence plates of two vehicles.
The former NSFs then shared the photos to a WhatsApp chat group that had 24 members including present and former SCDF NSF personnel.
Tan sent the photos to his friends outside the chat group but were also NSFs from the SCDF and SAF.
Fire station commander Captain Dinesh K Verlachamy was alerted that a photo of the incident had been circulating on WhatsApp.
He interviewed everyone and implored them to delete the photos. When Arif refused, his phone was confiscated.
Captain Dinesh then filed a police report one day after the death of Private Liu. The report filed a breach of the Official Secrets Act and named seven personnel.
Singaporeans were furious at SCDF’s decision to file a report against its own NSF personnel and accused the SCDF of trying to “cover up” the incident. -/TISG