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4 more SCDF officers probed for death of NSF Kok Yuen Chin; AGC reviewing case

SINGAPORE — Four more Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers have been implicated in the death of full-time National Serviceman Kok Yuen Chin, 22, who was found at the bottom of a pump well in Tuas View Fire Station on Sunday (May 13).

The full-time national serviceman from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) who died after he was found unconscious at the bottom of a pump well did not know how to swim, according to his girlfriend and relatives.

The full-time national serviceman from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) who died after he was found unconscious at the bottom of a pump well did not know how to swim, according to his girlfriend and relatives.

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SINGAPORE — Four more Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers have been implicated in the death of full-time National Serviceman Kok Yuen Chin, 22, who was found at the bottom of a pump well in Tuas View Fire Station on Sunday (May 13).

The four officers were due for promotion on June 1 but will have their promotions withheld pending the conclusion of investigations, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in an update on Wednesday evening (May 16).

Two other SCDF regulars – a Warrant Officer 1 and a Staff Sergeant – who were earlier arrested have been suspended from service and will receive half their salaries pending the outcome of police investigations, the ministry added.

The Board of Inquiry that will review the incident that led to Corporal Kok's death and make recommendations will be chaired by a senior director from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said the MHA. It will include members who are not from the MHA or the SCDF, and will submit its report to Minister K Shanmugam.

Besides the Board's inquiry, the state coroner may separately call for an inquiry into Corporal Kok's death, the MHA said. The Attorney-General's Chambers is reviewing the case with a view to criminal proceedings, it added.

In a message to SCDF officers on Wednesday – the day Corporal Kok, 22, would have completed his two-year full-time national service stint with a strong testimonial – Commissioner Eric Yap stressed that unit commanders will be held accountable and responsible for any unauthorised initiation or ragging activities by anyone under their charge.

Commissioner Yap said he briefed all commanders on Tuesday and underlined the importance of command responsibility.

"Let me be clear about this – those of us who are aware of, or have seen such acts being carried out but yet do not stop or report these acts, also bear responsibility. We cannot condone or allow any wrongdoing," Commissioner Yap wrote.

"We pride ourselves on being the Life Saving Force. But amongst us, there may be some who flout the rules, or turn a blind eye to unauthorised initiation or ragging activities being carried out by officers who clearly do not embrace our core values."

The incident leading to Corporal Kok's death has damaged the SCDF's credibility and Commissioner Yap said it will do its "utmost" to regain the trust of the public and families who entrust their sons to do national service.

"Even as we mourn the loss of one of our own, we owe it to CPL Kok to ensure that this must never happen again," he wrote.

In a ragging incident-turned-tragedy, Corporal Kok, who did not know how to swim, was found unconscious at the bottom of the fire station’s 12m pump well that contained 11m of water. He had been celebrating his impending operationally ready date with his squad mates. The funeral of the Malaysian and Singapore permanent resident will held on Thursday in his hometown of Malacca.

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