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Witnesses not ‘overly aggressive’ in restraining man who died after being caught taking upskirt photos: Coroner

SINGAPORE — Witnesses were not “overly aggressive” and did not use “excessive force” when they pinned down a man, who later died, after he was caught taking upskirt photos at Little India MRT Station, a coroner said.

A photograph showing a police cordon along Niven Road at the scene where Mr Andrew Ho Chee Meng died on Nov 1, 2019.

A photograph showing a police cordon along Niven Road at the scene where Mr Andrew Ho Chee Meng died on Nov 1, 2019.

  • Andrew Ho Chee Meng, 46, died after being chased and restrained by witnesses who saw him taking upskirt photos
  • The coroner took note of evidence that Ho suffered medical conditions, which contributed to his death
  • The witnesses who restrained Ho did not use "excessive force", the coroner said
  • However, she noted it may be prudent to call upon police in such situations

 

SINGAPORE — Witnesses were not “overly aggressive” and did not use “excessive force” when they pinned down a man, who later died, after he was caught taking upskirt photos at Little India MRT Station, a coroner said.

Andrew Ho Chee Meng, 46, died on Nov 1, 2019 on a pavement outside 56 Niven Road, after he was chased and restrained by several men who spotted him trying to take the illicit photos.

Ho, who was unresponsive and had vomited on himself by the time the police arrived, was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic.

A forensic pathologist certified that the cause of death was hypothyroid cardiomyopathy, a "natural disease process" that affects heart function.

The pathologist said it was likely that the stress of running, chasing or the subsequent restraint, or both, had contributed to Ho's death.

State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam put forth the findings on Tuesday (Sept 22), as reported by CNA.

She added that Ho's external injuries were "superficial and did not cause or contribute to the death".

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE DAY

12.40pm: A member of public, Mr Ng Kim Tong, noticed Ho using his mobile phone on an escalator at Little India MRT Station to film up the skirt of a woman who was standing in front of him.

Mr Ng shouted, prompting Ho to run up the escalator. A second man, Mr Nardozi Thierry, heard the commotion and both men gave chase.

A third man, Mr Rudy Iskandar Khan, joined the pursuit as Ho ran out of the MRT station and across an open car park.

They detained Ho on a pavement outside 56 Niven Road after running for about 200m.

The men held onto Ho’s arms and Mr Nardozi placed his knee on the back of his thighs. Mr Nardozi also took away Ho’s phone to prevent him from deleting any photographs.

Ho’s alleged victim, who cannot be named due to a court order, arrived at the scene and called the police.

A fourth member of the public who was driving by, Mr Leong Cheng Fong, saw the commotion and stopped to record a video of the incident. He then stepped in to help, relieving Mr Ng.

A short while later, a fifth man, Mr Rudy’s brother, Mr Racmat Hidayattullah Hasbullah, took over from his brother. He held onto Ho’s right arm and shoulder and noticed vomit next to the restrained man’s face.

12.50pm: The police arrived at the scene about 15 minutes after they were alerted to the incident. When two police officers tapped Ho on the shoulder, he did not respond.

As they tried to turn him around, one of the officers noticed that Ho’s eyes and mouth were open and there was vomit on his face and on the ground. He checked for a pulse but could not detect one and called for an ambulance.

Three more officers arrived at the scene and two performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Ho, while other officers searched for a defibrillator.

A paramedic and her crew arrived and took over, and noticed that Ho's eyes were wide open and there was dried vomit on his face.

WHAT THE PATHOLOGIST FOUND

Dr George Paul, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, said that Ho’s death was due to a "natural disease process". He is senior consultant forensic pathologist in the Forensic Medicine Division at the Health Sciences Authority.

Ho had a history of hypothyroidism, a condition that makes the heart slow to recover from each heart contraction in time for the next contraction and also sensitive to falling levels of thyroid hormones.

He was already vulnerable to death from strain or struggle on account of his diseased heart due to the malfunctioning thyroid gland, Dr George said.

Ho had also been seen at the Institute of Mental Health and diagnosed with "paraphilia with borderline IQ, and voyeurism being a form of paraphilia". Taking upskirt videos would also be considered as a paraphilia or perversion.

CORONER’S COMMENTS

State Coroner Kamala said: “When (Ho) was lying prone on the ground, most of them (the witnesses) had observed that (he) had vomited, but no attempt was made to reposition him or to actively check that he was well.

“It was clear from the video footage that (Ho) had stopped struggling and was lying motionless on the ground for some three minutes, but the witnesses either did not observe this or did not think that it was significant.”

She also said that while people are not "specifically discouraged" from helping those in need, it "may be prudent" to turn to the police because they are trained to restrain suspects.

Related topics

court crime upskirt death coroner

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