Shanmugam on SCDF NSF's death: 'We will get to the bottom of it'

( Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has requested that an audit be conducted following the death of Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time national serviceman (NSF) Kok Yuen Chin on Sunday (13 May), and that action be taken if any evidence of misconduct is found.

Kok, who held the rank of corporal, was found unconscious at about 9.20pm on Sunday at the bottom of the Tuas View Fire Station’s pump well, a reservoir of water used by fire station personnel for training and testing the pumps of fire engines. Efforts to revive him at the scene proved fruitless and he was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Due to complete his full-time national service stint on Wednesday, Kok had been celebrating with his squad mates during which one of the activities involving getting him into the well.

Describing the drowning incident as a “celebration gone wrong” and “tragic loss” of a “young man full of potential” during a media doorstop on Monday, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam added that the “conduct of some of the people involved” was in “clear violation” of the SCDF’s rules.

“It should not have happened; unacceptable, period… We will get to the bottom of it,” he said. “Details will be released in due course.”

“Action has been taken before when conduct which is not sanctioned has taken place, celebrations or otherwise,” Shanmugam added. “But after a while, people forget and break the rules again.”

The minister added that he had met Kok’s family members, including his father, aunt and aunt’s husband, earlier on Monday.

“SCDF will not condone unauthorised activities and we have been telling our commanders to brief the men properly to ensure they do not undertake these activities,” said the SCDF’s deputy commissioner Chong Hoi Hung.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Corporal Kok. Minister (Shanmugam) and I have visited the family members and we are offering every (form of) assistance to them,” he added.

Two SCDF regular officers were placed under arrest on Monday over the incident.

Police are currently investigating the matter to ascertain how Kok ended up falling into the pump well and whether any parties are criminally responsible for his death, said an SCDF statement earlier on Monday.

The SCDF has not disclosed the ages of Kok and the two SCDF officers who were arrested. A Board of Inquiry, under the SCDF Act, will also be convened to look into the case.

The SCDF will also be conducting briefings at all its fire stations and bases while also looking into whether any similar activities were conducted in the recent past.

Kok’s death comes two weeks after a 19-year-old Singapore Armed Force NSF died from “signs of heat injury” following an 8km fast march.

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SCDF full-time national serviceman dies after falling into fire station’s pump well

19-year-old NSF dies after showing signs of ‘heat injury’ following fast march

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