5 cases of ragging in SCDF in past 8 years, errant officers given detention: MHA

Photo of Tuas View Fire Station/Google Street View

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the statement was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and not by the Singapore Civil Defence Force in the previous version.

There have been at least five cases of ragging in the past eight years at the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), resulting in errant officers being punished with detention, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Tuesday (15 May).

In response to media queries, the MHA listed in a statement details of the ragging incidents that occurred between May 2010 and August 2015. The officers who were found guilty in the incidents were sentenced to detention ranging from three to 40 days.

The statement comes after Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, an SCDF full-time national serviceman, died after falling into the Tuas View Fire Station’s pump well while celebrating his impending operationally ready date (ORD) with his squad mates on Sunday.

One of the activities during the celebration involved getting Kok – who was due to complete his NS stint on Wednesday – into the pump well.

Two SCDF regular personnel were placed under arrest on Monday over the incident. Based on preliminary investigations, the SCDF said the mishap appears to have arisen “as a result of activities which SCDF has prohibited”.

A Board of Inquiry will look into the fatal incident.

In response to Kok’s death, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Monday that the incident will be fully investigated. He added, “Action has been taken before when conduct which is not sanctioned has taken place, celebrations or otherwise. But after a while, people forget and break the rules again.”

Among the five cases listed in MHA’s statement was a case in May 2010 of two new officers who were coerced by their colleagues to undergo an initiation session by entering a station’s pump well. One of the officers later reported the incident to the SCDF.

Seven officers who were involved in the incident were punished with penalties ranging from 15 to 23 days in detention.

In another case in January 2015, three officers splashed water on another officer by using a water hose in a toilet. The latter’s father later reported the incident to the SCDF. The errant officers were sentenced to 30 to 40 days’ detention.

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