Man who threw military explosive in forest to get back at supervisor jailed, fined

Loophole in State Courts system allowed unauthorised access to 223 e-case files
Loophole in State Courts system allowed unauthorised access to 223 e-case files

Angry over a dispute with his supervisor, a man who was assigned to move military-grade explosives took a projectile and flung it in a forested area.

Goh Wee Eng, 48, did so to get back at his supervisor but ended up triggering a massive two-week hunt for the projectile.

On Friday (28 December), Goh, a Singaporean, was sentenced to three months’ jail and fined $4,000 by the State Courts after he pleaded guilty to one count of possessing the projectile of a High Explosive Incendiary (HEI) ammunition round. The round contains 113g of Hexatol, an explosive that is similar to a dynamite.

At the time of the offence, Goh had been two months into his job as a general labourer with Advanced Material Engineering (AME), a firm which designs and manufactures military items. AME was contracted to dispose explosives for ST Kinetics.

Goh was assigned to do manual labour at an AME plant located at Rifle Range Road. He was tasked to pack HEI rounds into boxes.

At the plant, each HEI round would be broken into three components: the projectile, the propellant and the cartridge case.

After the rounds were dismantled, a stock count would be carried out to account for all the components before the projectiles would be packed and shipped overseas for safe disposal.

On 2 October last year, Goh got into a dispute with his supervisor Goh Boon Heng, 59, who was a Technical Specialist at AME.

Three days later, Goh decided to cause trouble for his supervisor. At about 12pm, he entered the plant and saw an unsealed box containing projectiles. He took a projectile, left the building and threw it into a forested area behind the plant.

Half an hour later, an employee noticed a missing projective while counting the batches. The employee informed Boon Heng. The two conducted a search within the plant but could not find the projectile.

At around 4pm, all staff were told to stop their work to search the plant. Goh was aware of the search but did not admit to his action.

After the search ended at 6.30pm, each staff was subjected to a search of their bodies and belongings before they could leave.

The search resumed the next day and the staff were interviewed by the senior management. Boon Heng told the management that Goh might have been responsible for the missing projectile. Goh admitted to his actions after being confronted.

AME engaged professional grass-cutting services and used metal detectors to search for the projectile.

The police were informed about the projectile on 9 October and police dogs, as well as the personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces were deployed to help with the search. The projectile was eventually recovered on 19 October, two weeks after it went missing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Stephanie Koh asked for a jail term of four months and a high fine for Goh, whom she said had committed the offence out of “malice and vindictiveness”.

“Rather than settle the matter amicably, he retained a grudge against his supervisor and was determined to cause trouble for him,” said the DPP.

The DPP added that Goh’s actions resulted in extensive waste of resources.

“Almost 2,000 man-hours were expended in the search that lasted about two weeks… AME incurred significant financial cost of more than $20,000,” she said.

DPP Koh said that any missing weapon, explosive or ammunition would generate alarm and pose risk to individuals illegally obtaining military equipment.

For possessing an explosive, Goh could have been jailed up to three years and/or fined $5,000.

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