Singapore—Third Sergeant (National Service) Hubert Wah Yun Teng admitted in military court on Tuesday, November 19, to having caused the death of actor and NSman Aloysius Pang in January of this year.
Mr Wah pleaded guilty to one charge of causing death by a negligent act under the Penal Code, and another charge of a negligent act of endangering life under the SAF Act, according to a report from Channel NewsAsia (CNA).
After his admission of guilt, it was announced that Mr Wah would be demoted and made to pay a fine. He will be demoted to the rank of Corporal, and be made to pay two fines: S$5,000 for the charge of causing death by a negligent act, as well as S$3,000 for a negligent act of endangering life.
“Given that 3SG (NS) Hubert Wah was the junior commander, the fact that he activated the switch for the flick rammer, and one of the charges he faced was Section 304A(b) of the Penal Code, we are of the view that 3SG (NS) Hubert Wah’s culpability is higher than ME2 Ivan Teo.
Accordingly, this fact is reflected in their respective sentences,” said Lieutenant-Colonel (NS) Shawn Ho, the General Court Martial president, who headed the three-member tribunal. Mr Ho is also a serving State Court judge, CNA reports.
In the incident that led to Mr Pang’s death last January, Mr Wah had not made sure that Mr Pang was clear from the travel path of the flick rammer of the Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer. The flick rammer therefore pinned Mr Pang against against the centre slew ring of the Howitzer, an act that caused the fatality.
As for the charge of committing a negligent act of endangering life, Mr Wah did not press the emergency stop button to halt the movement of the flick rammer.
CNA further reports that in Mr Wah’s mitigation, Adrian Wee, Mr Wah’s lawyer, said that the next-of-kin of the victim had asked for leniency for his client.
Causing death by a negligent act could result in up to two years’ jail time, a fine, or both penalties.
The prosecution did not argue against only a fine being imposed as a penalty but asked for the maximum amount of S$5,000.
The other SAF serviceman accused in the death of Mr Pang, Military Expert 2 Ivan Teo Gee Siang, pleaded guilty to two charges of a negligent act of endangering life and another charge of disobedience of general orders.
For these three charges, Mr Teo has been fined S$7,000 in all.
The military court heard that Mr Teo had not told Mr Wah concerning the victim’s being in the travel path of the flick rammer. Nor did he press the emergency stop button for. And for the third charge against him, Mr Teo had loosened the outer cover of a box in the Howitzer when its barrel was not in a parked position, with its master switch not switched off, contrary to instructions from a maintenance manual.
The court was also told that by November 22, Friday, Mr Wah will pay the full amount of his fine. Mr Teo, on the other hand, will be paying an initial amount of $3,000, and the rest in monthly installments via salary deductions.
Mr Teo’s clean service record, Mr Wah’s “almost unblemished” service record, and the fact that both men entered guilty pleas were taken into consideration in mitigation. -/TISG