Two SAF servicemen charged in relation to Aloysius Pang’s death
SINGAPORE — Two Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) servicemen were charged in military court on Wednesday (July 31) in relation to the death of actor Aloysius Pang, who was killed in an accident while on reservist training in New Zealand.
SINGAPORE — Two Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) servicemen were charged in military court on Wednesday (July 31) in relation to the death of 28-year-old actor Aloysius Pang, who was killed in an accident while on reservist training in New Zealand.
Gun commander Hubert Wah, 31, a Third Sergeant national serviceman who was also on reservist, faces two charges — one charge for causing death by rash act and one charge for causing death by negligent act under the Penal Code.
Technician Ivan Teo, 35, a regular serviceman who holds the rank of Military Expert 2, faces three charges — one charge for disobedience of general orders under the Singapore Armed Forces Act, and two charges for causing death by negligent act under the Penal Code.
The two were in the Self-Propelled Howitzer with Pang when he was crushed between the gun barrel and cabin while carrying out maintenance work inside.
Wednesday’s development came after a five-member Committee of Inquiry concluded that the Jan 19 incident was caused by safety lapses committed by all three national servicemen who were in the howitzer at the time.
Pang, a Corporal First Class (National Service), died from severe sepsis — a serious complication of an infection arising from his severe chest and abdominal injuries — four days after being crushed by the gun barrel inside the howitzer on Jan 23.
If convicted, Teo may be jailed up to two years for his disobedience charge. As for causing death by negligent act, he may be jailed for another two years, fined, or both.
Wah, if convicted, faces up to five years in jail, a fine, or both.
In a statement issued on Wednesday morning, the Ministry of Defence said that as Pang’s death occurred in New Zealand, the Singapore Police Force does not have jurisdiction to conduct investigations into his death.
An investigation into his death was instead conducted by the SAF’s Special Investigation Branch (SIB), and the chief military prosecutor has decided to prosecute the two SAF servicemen based on the findings of the SIB.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE HOWITZER
In a ministerial statement delivered in Parliament in May, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the two servicemen had “panicked and acted irrationally”, and therefore failed to activate the emergency stop buttons.
One of the two servicemen in the cabin had told Pang to move closer to him or to a safe position as the gun barrel inside the howitzer was about to be lowered, Dr Ng said.
But Pang stayed put, replying in Mandarin that the gun barrel would not hit him.
However, as the gun barrel was lowered it began crushing him. The same serviceman tried to push the gun barrel upwards with his hands, while the other tried to stop the barrel’s movement through the main control screen, Dr Ng said.
Neither of them hit the emergency stop buttons that would have halted the gun barrel.
“It is sad but undeniable that the direct causes determined by the COI that resulted in the death of Corporal First Class (National Service) Pang was preventable had there been compliance to safety rules,” Dr Ng then said.
“It was not for lack of knowledge of these rules or inexperience of personnel working on the howitzer gun.”
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