SINGAPORE — A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officer was charged in court on Friday (25 October) for causing the death of SAF full-time national serviceman, Corporal First Class (CFC) Liu Kai, in November last year.
Captain Ong Lin Jie, 28, was charged for doing a rash act causing death not amounting to culpable homicide.
According to the charge sheet, Ong was the vehicle commander of the Land Rover, of which CFC Liu was the driver, during an SAF training exercise at Murai Urban Training Facility on 3 November last year.
Failed to keep safety distance
He had allegedly failed to keep a safety distance of 30 metres between the Land Rover and an SAF Bionix Infantry Fight Vehicle ahead, thereby causing the Bionix to reverse and mount the driver’s side of the Land Rover, crushing CFC Liu despite repeated commands by the rear guide to stop the vehicle.
Liu, a transport operator from the SAF Transport Hub West, lost consciousness and was attended to immediately by the on-site medic, but eventually succumbed to his injuries. The cause of death as determined by post-mortem was traumatic asphyxia.
If convicted, Ong faces imprisonment of up to five years, or a fine, or both. He will return to court on 21 November.
Sending photos over Whatsapp group chats
Five other individuals face charges under the Official Secrets Act for spreading photographs of the accident.
Muhammad Arif Azman, 22, was serving his national service with the Singapore Civil Defence Force. He was charged on Friday for taking two photographs of the accident and sending them to 23 other individuals in a Whatsapp group chat. Furthermore, he failed to delete the photographs from his mobile phone despite orders from Jurong Fire Station commander, Captain Dinesh Verlachamy.
Brandon Tan Jien Jet, 21, was charged with sending two photos of the accident to six other individuals in a Whatsapp group chat after receiving the photos. Similarly, Thng Yu Xuan, 21, was charged with sending four photos to five other individuals in another Whatsapp group chat.
Two others – Mohamad Haikal Mohamad Zainal Abiddin and Muhammad Zaki Haji Mokhtar – have yet to be charged.
Haikal will return to court on 22 November. The other four intend to plead guilty on 2 December. If convicted, they face a jail term of up to two years, and a maximum fine of $2,000.