River Valley High death: ST apologises over juxtaposition of case and Axe Brand Oil ad

(PHOTOS: Screenshots/The Straits Times)
(PHOTOS: Screenshots/The Straits Times)

SINGAPORE — The Straits Times (ST) on Wednesday (21 July) apologised for the “inadvertent and unfortunate” juxtaposition of an Axe Brand Universal Oil advertisement and its report of the River Valley High School killing on the front page of the newspaper a day earlier.

In an apology posted at the bottom of Page 2 of its Wednesday edition, the newspaper said, “The Straits Times apologises for the distress caused.”

ST said the advertisement has been booked in advance of news developments. It also referred to a post by Axe Brand on its Facebook page.

Axe Brand said in its post, “The advertisement placement was not intentional by our company but a very unfortunate coincidence. The advertisement was arranged and booked in December 2020 with Straits Times. Our company is in deep sympathy and grief with the victim’s family.”

The apology by ST comes after a 16-year-old boy was charged on Tuesday with the murder of a 13-year-old fellow student at their River Valley High School on Monday.

The Secondary 4 student is accused of causing the death of the Secondary 1 boy at a toilet on Level 4 of Block D of the school between 11.16am and 11.44am. The police said in a statement that an axe was seized as case exhibit as part of their investigations into the case.

The tragic incident has shocked Singapore, with several ministers extending their sympathies to those affected by it. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday, "I know we cannot properly express our sympathy (to the victim’s family), or offer much comfort in their sudden calamity. But still, I would like them to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them."

If you are feeling distressed, you can call SOS' 24-hour hotline at 1800 221 4444. You can also email pat@sos.org.sg.

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