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Coroner finds man killed by MRT train near Kallang station committed suicide, was facing possible jail time

SINGAPORE — The state coroner has ruled that a 31-year-old man, who was run over by a train and later found dead on the tracks about 150m from Kallang MRT Station last year, intended to commit suicide.

Coroner finds man killed by MRT train near Kallang station committed suicide, was facing possible jail time
Police officers seen along the train tracks between Kallang and Lavender MRT stations on Feb 25, 2021.
  • Ahmed Faisal, 31, was about to receive his trial verdict for drug consumption
  • The Bangladeshi national had also been arrested again recently for the same offences
  • He died after gaining access to MRT tracks near Kallang station and being struck by a train
  • State Coroner Adam Nakhoda ruled that he had taken his own life, having acted unusually in the days before the incident

SINGAPORE — The state coroner has ruled that a 31-year-old man, who was run over by a train and later found dead on the tracks about 150m from Kallang MRT Station last year, intended to commit suicide.

On the day he died, Ahmed Faisal, a Bangladeshi, was due to receive his verdict after claiming trial to drug consumption charges. He had also been arrested again a few days before this and tested positive for controlled drugs.

State Coroner Adam Nakhoda noted in his inquiry findings released on Tuesday (Jan 25) that if Faisal had been convicted in both cases, he would have spent time in prison and possibly been deported from Singapore.

When the train struck him on the tracks, he had similarly just consumed methamphetamine and eutylone, both controlled drugs. His cause of death was multiple catastrophic injuries from the train collision.

“It was possible that the prospect of a sentence of imprisonment, coupled with his loneliness, and that he was homesick were too overwhelming for Mr Faisal that he decided to take his own life,” State Coroner Nakhoda added.

The incident, which occurred around 9pm on Feb 25 last year, had led to train disruptions between Bugis and Aljunied stops. Both Kallang and Lavender stations had to be closed later that night.

It was possible that the prospect of a sentence of imprisonment, coupled with his loneliness, and that he was homesick were too overwhelming for Mr Faisal that he decided to take his own life.
State Coroner Adam Nakhoda

The coroner’s court heard details of how Faisal accessed the eastbound track, which is part of the East-West Line, where the track transitions from overland to underground. This is known as a tunnel entrance or portal.

Police officers observed that the barbed wire topping the fencing at the eastbound side had been pushed downwards, such that the individual barbed wire strands were compressed together.

Faisal had climbed up the fencing, pushed down the barbed wire with a “reasonable amount of force” and got onto the track this way, the police said.

A pair of brown slippers and a surgical mask were found at the vicinity of the fencing, which police K9 dogs tracked back to Faisal’s body.

Following his death, coils of wire were placed at the track viaduct to prevent further entry.

DRUG OFFENCES

In November 2018, Faisal had been arrested at a roadblock and charged with taking methamphetamine and norketamine.

He continued to work at HCH General Services until his work permit expired one year later, after which he remained in Singapore on a special pass.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority or the Ministry of Manpower issues special passes that allow foreigners to stay in Singapore for specific purposes, such as to help with investigations and attend court proceedings.

His younger brother, Mr Hasan Md Mehedi, told the coroner’s court that Faisal worked ad-hoc jobs while on the special pass. Mr Hasan occasionally helped to pay his brother's monthly rent for a condominium unit.

Faisal claimed trial to his drug consumption offences and he was scheduled to appear in the State Courts on Feb 25 last year to receive the verdict. He did not turn up and a warrant of arrest was issued against him.

Six days earlier, on Feb 19, Mr Hasan visited Faisal at home and saw him “smoking drugs from a pipe”. Mr Hasan then called the police to report that Faisal was acting aggressively and possibly had a “mental problem”.

Police officers arrested Faisal and his urine tested positive for amphetamine. He was then released on station bail pending the completion of investigations.

BEHAVIOUR WAS ODD

On Feb 24 last year, Faisal met a friend — Mr Darren Lee — who shared an interest in personal mobility devices and went over to his home. Mr Lee said that Faisal acted strangely then, staring into space and not responding to Mr Lee.

The next morning, which was when Faisal was meant to go to court, Mr Lee observed him staring at a painting in the guest room and mumbling to himself.

Mr Hasan called Faisal a few times before Faisal picked up and assured his brother that he would go to court. Mr Hasan then took a taxi to the State Courts and waited for Faisal, but he did not turn up.

Later that evening, the operator of the MRT train travelling from Lavender to Kallang MRT Station had just exited the tunnel when he heard a very loud thumping sound coming from the train’s undercarriage.

The operator then applied the emergency brakes and reported the incident to SMRT’s chief controller overseeing the East-West Line.

The controller told him to follow SMRT’s standard operating procedures and travel in manual mode to Kallang MRT Station while looking out for anything unusual on the track.

Later, another train operator spotted what he thought was a human hand in the middle of the track, and reported this to the station master at Lavender MRT Station.

DEPRESSED

Mr Hasan told the authorities that his brother had never expressed any ideas about suicide, and that fateful morning was the first time that he had not attended a court hearing.

Mr Lee added that Faisal had told him he was depressed from missing his family in Bangladesh, and wanted to find a girlfriend but was unable to do so.

Faisal’s investigation officers also said that he had not expressed any issues, problems or suicidal ideations.

State Coroner Nakhoda noted that the evidence pointed to an “irresistible conclusion” that Faisal had committed suicide, adding: “I do not think that the evidence supports, in any way, a conclusion that he had accidentally found himself on the MRT track and was subsequently hit by an MRT train.”

He had acted in an unusual manner in the days and hours preceding his death, and it was unusual that he had missed his court appearance, State Coroner Nakhoda said.

“It was hard to say, as Mr Faisal left no suicide note or expressed any suicidal ideations, why he chose to take his own life. It was possible that the pressure and stress of the impending verdict for this first drug consumption case was weighing on him,” the coroner added.

In concluding his findings, the coroner gave his condolences to Faisal’s family for their loss.
 

WHERE TO GET HELP

  • National Care Hotline: 1800 202 6868
  • Fei Yue's Online Counselling Service: eC2.sg website (Mon to Fri, 10am to 12pm, 2pm to 5pm)
  • Institute of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
  • Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours) / 1-767 (24 hours)
  • Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
  • Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928 / 6509-0271 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
  • Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (Mon to Fri, 2.30pm to 5pm)
  • Touchline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)

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coroner coroner's inquiry suicide Kallang MRT Station death SMRT migrant worker

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