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SCDF CPL Kok Yuen Chin (NSF) dies after being found unconscious

CoffeeAhSoh

Alfrescian
Old Timer
SCDF NSF death: Corporal Kok Yuen Chin’s last conversation with his father


Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/new...k-yuen-chin-s-last-conversation-with-10240010







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KRUBONG, Melaka: The father of the late Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time national serviceman Kok Yuen Chin said the last contact he had with his son was a discussion about dinner, more than a month before he died on Sunday (May 13).

Mr Kok Meng Hua, 56, was speaking to Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday, at his son’s wake in the quiet Melaka suburb of Krubong. Mr Kok works six days a week doing construction in Singapore, with Sunday being his only day off.


“What are you doing today? Are you working?” Mr Kok recalled asking his son after knocking off early that day. As a firefighter at Tuas View Fire Station, Yuen Chin worked one 24-hour shift followed by two days off. That day was his day off, he replied.

“Want to have dinner together?” Mr Kok continued, suggesting their usual hawker centre in Bukit Panjang, where Mr Kok lives.

Yuen Chin hesitated. He had a buffet date with his girlfriend. By then he had moved out of his dad’s place to live independently with her in a rented room in Jurong. It was nearer to his Tuas workplace.

Yuen Chin invited his dad along for the buffet, but Mr Kok declined. He’d had a rough day at work, so he wanted a proper meal with rice. Another day then, Mr Kok remembered he said.


Yuen Chin was just a month away from his Operationally Ready Date (ORD) and Mr Kok thought there would be more opportunities to have a dinner with him and discuss the next chapter of his son’s life.

But the next chapter never came. And so that was the last time Mr Kok heard from his son.

On Sunday night, Yuen Chin was found unconscious at the bottom of a 12m pump well at his fire station. Eleven metres of the well had been filled with water. Yuen Chin was rushed to a hospital, but was pronounced dead.


When Mr Kok visited the well to pray and leave offerings, he was shocked by its narrow diameter and sheer depth. "How could he have a chance to survive?" Mr Kok said.

Mr Kok’s younger sister Helen, 55, said the family wants answers. Did anyone jump in the moment they realised Yuen Chin was not coming up?

While investigations into how exactly Yuen Chin ended up in the well are still ongoing, SCDF has said that it was part of activities to celebrate his impending ORD.


For closure, Ms Kok said the family wants to watch CCTV footage of the incident, but she added that it’s unclear if they will be able to. “I just want to know how they tried to save my son,” Mr Kok said.


INDEPENDENT, HELPFUL BOY

Whenever Yuen Chin returned home to Melaka, which was about twice a month, he never hesitated to help around the house. “After dinner he automatically washes the plates, wipes the table and sweeps the floor," Ms Kok said.

Yuen Chin would take S$600 out of his salary to give to his mother, who lives in Melaka. Then he would take his siblings out to the mall, treating them to movies and ice cream.

The last time he went home was on Malaysia’s polling day on May 9. He didn’t vote, but wanted to accompany his girlfriend who was going to. Mr Kok didn't go back because he couldn't take time off work. It was then that Yuen Chin told family members he wanted to work as an auxiliary police officer.

Mr Kok had asked Yuen Chin if he wanted to sign on as a firefighter. He entertained the idea, but said he didn’t have the necessary academic qualifications. When Mr Kok asked Yuen Chin to approach his superiors for a recommendation, he said he didn’t want to trouble them.

This self-reliant attitude is also what made him so endearing, Ms Kok said. “When he had difficulty with his studies, he never told his parents,” she added.

"He loved his mother very much," Mr Kok said.

THE OTHER CALL

It was about 9.50pm on Sunday when Mr Kok, in an express bus on his way back to Singapore, was first told of the incident.

Every week on Saturday night after work, Mr Kok goes back to Melaka to see his wife. He rides his motorcycle across the border, parks it at Larkin in Johor and takes a bus home. On Sunday night, he does the same, but in the other direction.

“Can you come to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital now?” he was told. “What happened?” he probed. The other person on the line would only say that his son had fainted in a pool.

His heart raced. Mr Kok knew his son hated the water and couldn't swim. And it would still be hours before he reached Johor, let alone Singapore. Mr Kok called his sister and asked her to go to the hospital. “I asked her to call me when my son regained consciousness,” he said.

He only reached Johor at midnight. There was still no call. He rode his motorcycle with one fist clenched around his phone. “If it rang, I would quickly pull over and answer,” he said. The call never came. “That was when I knew my son was no more.”

Mr Kok parked his bike at home and took a taxi to the hospital because he didn’t know where to park. He called his sister. “How is my son now?” he pressed. Ms Kok wouldn’t answer.

“Twice I asked and her voice changed,” he said. “I only knew it wasn’t good.”

When the taxi pulled in, Mr Kok said at least three SCDF officers were waiting. They led him into a room, where a doctor told him “we did our best but could not save your son".

Yuen Chin was in a neck brace and had some cuts on his face, Mr Kok said. “Your papa is here now,” he could only say.


HIS JOURNEY

Like a lot of kids, Yuen Chin grew up playing football with his neighbours on a field just in front of his house. He would also be glued to his phone playing games, Mr Kok said with a smile.

After finishing the equivalent of his polytechnic diploma in Malaysia, Yuen Chin decided to pursue citizenship so he could work in Singapore. Mr Kok had offered to pay for him to further his studies, but he refused.

When he got enlisted into the SCDF, Mr Kok joked that it would be easier than serving in the army. “Even if it’s tough, I’ll still do it,” Yuen Chin said. “I just want to finish the two years.”

Yuen Chin graduated from the Civil Defence Academy as a firefighter and lived with his dad for about a year. During the time they bunked together, they talked about work.

Because the fire station was so remote, Yuen Chin would round up orders from his colleagues and buy back food for them, a job that he said newbies had to do. And because the fire station was so remote, Yuen Chin didn’t have that many cases to attend.

“Where did you go today? Wash oil off the roads?” Mr Kok would joke. Yuen Chin would insist that he still fought fires, at factories in places like Yew Tee.

Mr Kok felt good about Yuen Chin eking out a future in Singapore. “I have always thought of Singapore as a safe place,” he said. “It’s not like overseas, where there might be a lot of trouble.”


When Yuen Chin moved out to live with his girlfriend, Mr Kok gave him more freedom. “I didn’t want to call every day; he was earning an income,” he said. “He had already grown up.”

He said that Yuen Chin and his girlfriend would often come over for dinner.

“I was just happy that he had finished his two years,” he added. “I also thought of asking about his plans after ORD: Are you finding work? Are you coming back to the kampung for a week?

“I just didn’t have the chance to ask.”
 

CoffeeAhSoh

Alfrescian
Old Timer
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Paging For PTADER , Just In : Commissioner Eric Yap Has Heard You :biggrin: :


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More officers being investigated over SCDF NSF death, four promotions withheld: MHA


SINGAPORE - Investigations into the death of a Singapore Civil Defence Force full-time national serviceman (SCDF) have widened to more officers, with four having their promotions withheld.

Two SCDF regular personnel, who were arrested on Monday in relation to the death of Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, will also be suspended from service on half-pay pending the outcome of police investigations. The duo - a Warrant Officer 1 and a Staff Sergeant - were Cpl Kok's colleagues who worked in the same shift duty at the station.

The four, whose promotions are being withheld, were supposed to move up the ranks on June 1, according to a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday (May 16) that provided updates on Cpl Kok's case.

Cpl Kok, 22, died after he was found unconscious inside a pump well at Tuas View Fire Station on Sunday night.

The Singapore PR had been celebrating his impending operationally ready date (ORD) with his squad mates, which involved him getting into the pump well as part of ragging activities. He would have completed his service in two days.

In its statement, the MHA added that a Board of Inquiry (BOI), convened to look into his death and to make recommendations to prevent similar incidents, will be chaired by a senior director from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.


The BOI will include members who are not from the MHA or the SCDF, and will submit its report to the Minister of Home Affairs.

Separately, the state coroner may call for an inquiry into the death. The Attorney-General's Chambers is also reviewing the case with a view to criminal proceedings.

The police had arrested the two SCDF regular personnel based on preliminary investigations into what had happened, including how Cpl Kok fell into the pump well, and whether anyone is criminally responsible.

SCDF Commissioner Eric Yap, in a strongly-worded letter on Wednesday to all officers, said unit commanders would be accountable and responsible for any unauthorised initiation or ragging activities by any personnel under their charge.



He added that he had personally briefed all commanders on Tuesday and underlined the importance of Command Responsibility.



"As an organisation, and as individuals, I am sure every one of us is grieved and horrified by this unfortunate incident. Each day, we put our lives at risk to protect and save lives and property. We pride ourselves on being the Life Saving Force," he said.

"But amongst us, there may be some who flout the rules, or turn a blind eye to unauthorised initiation or ragging activities being carried out by officers who clearly do not embrace our core values.

"Let me be clear about this - those of us who are aware of, or have seen such acts being carried out but yet do not stop or report these acts, also bear responsibility. We cannot condone or allow any wrongdoing."

Stressing that commanders are entrusted with the responsibility to look after the men and women who risk their lives every day, the commissioner said: “There must be zero tolerance for any officer who contravenes the rules, and we must take all necessary measures to eradicate such activities.”

He added that the incident had damaged the credibility of the SCDF, and there was a need to regain the trust of the public, families of NSFs and SCDF officers.

He pointed out that Cpl Kok would have completed his full-time national service on Wednesday and left the SCDF with a strong testimonial reflecting his good performance and outstanding conduct.

"Even as we mourn the loss of one of our own, we owe it to Cpl Kok to ensure that this must never happen again," said the commissioner.
 

CoffeeAhSoh

Alfrescian
Old Timer
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The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) may initiate criminal proceedings over the death of a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time national serviceman after he fell into a pump well, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Wednesday (16 May).

MHA said in a statement that it will convene a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to review the incident and make recommendations to ensure that such incidents do not recur.


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

Based on preliminary investigations, the SCDF said the mishap appears to have arisen “as a result of activities which SCDF has prohibited”.

Following the arrest of two SCDF officers on Monday over the incident, four other officers who were slated to be promoted on 1 June will have their promotions withheld pending conclusion of the investigations.

The two officers who have been arrested will be interdicted from service on half-pay pending the outcome of investigations.

Separately, SCDF Commissioner Eric Yap told SCDF officers in a message that the incident has “damaged the credibility of the Force” and was a clear violation of its rules.

Yap said that he attended Cpl Kok’s wake in Malacca with a few colleagues on Tuesday. “With a heavy heart, on behalf of all of us, I expressed our deepest condolences to his family. I personally assured his father that the SCDF will cooperate fully with the Police investigation and the Board of Inquiry and the outcome will be made known to the family,” he added.

On Tuesday, Yap briefed SCDF Commanders and told them that all Unit Commanders will be held responsible for any unauthorised initiation or ragging activities by any personnel under their charge.
 

JohnTan

Alfrescian (InfP)
Old Timer
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The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) may initiate criminal proceedings over the death of a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time national serviceman after he fell into a pump well, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Wednesday (16 May).

MHA said in a statement that it will convene a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to review the incident and make recommendations to ensure that such incidents do not recur.


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

Based on preliminary investigations, the SCDF said the mishap appears to have arisen “as a result of activities which SCDF has prohibited”.

Following the arrest of two SCDF officers on Monday over the incident, four other officers who were slated to be promoted on 1 June will have their promotions withheld pending conclusion of the investigations.

The two officers who have been arrested will be interdicted from service on half-pay pending the outcome of investigations.

Separately, SCDF Commissioner Eric Yap told SCDF officers in a message that the incident has “damaged the credibility of the Force” and was a clear violation of its rules.

Yap said that he attended Cpl Kok’s wake in Malacca with a few colleagues on Tuesday. “With a heavy heart, on behalf of all of us, I expressed our deepest condolences to his family. I personally assured his father that the SCDF will cooperate fully with the Police investigation and the Board of Inquiry and the outcome will be made known to the family,” he added.

On Tuesday, Yap briefed SCDF Commanders and told them that all Unit Commanders will be held responsible for any unauthorised initiation or ragging activities by any personnel under their charge.
I've also briefed my grassroots leaders that our RC will not condone any unauthorized initiation or ragging activities by any of the RC members, grassroots leaders and CCC leaders. Anyone who breaks my rules will be ragged themselves and be held liable for any injuries caused to our new members.
 

Wunderfool

Alfrescian (Inf)
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2018 - SG - Dead SCDF NSF Had Broken Teeth & Facial Injuries Sustained During Rescue Attempt - 15/5
How do you rescue a drowning person in the 2 m diameter deep pool?
He could not swim so he must have grabbed and held on to the rescuer and pulled him down together.The rescuer could not bring him up to the surface . The only way was to knock him unconscious and pull him up. But it was difficult with a narrow deep well. The rescuer was lucky to save his own life by kicking him away to release his grab and rushed up to the surface . Nobody dared to go down again. They decided to drain the water , but by doing so, he would be sucked down to the bottom of the well. He was dead by the time they finished draining the well.
 

PTADER

Alfrescian
Old Timer
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Paging For PTADER , Just In : Commissioner Eric Yap Has Heard You :biggrin: :

"SCDF Commissioner Eric Yap, in a strongly-worded letter on Wednesday to all officers, said unit commanders would be accountable and responsible for any unauthorised initiation or ragging activities by any personnel under their charge.

He added that he had personally briefed all commanders on Tuesday and underlined the importance of Command Responsibility. [...] "Let me be clear about this - those of us who are aware of, or have seen such acts being carried out but yet do not stop or report these acts, also bear responsibility. We cannot condone or allow any wrongdoing."
Thanks for the continuing updates.

SCDF has five operational, and two training Divisions, all under the command of Eric Yap Wee Teck who sits in his plush office in the fancy glass tower at Paya Lebar. Tuas View Fire Station (TVFS), where Kok was killed, is one of five "units" that come under the SCDF's 4th Division which is commanded by Col Michael Chua Szu Chiap. The "unit", TVFS, comes under the command of Maj Huang Weikang.

In trying to shamelessly cover his arse, Eric Yap wants to avoid command responsibility by redefining "command responsibility" to be that held only by "unit commanders" who hold the relatively lowly ranks of Captains and Majors. In his self-serving world view, only Maj Weikang, as the "unit" commander of TVFS, bears sole "command responsibility" for the death of Kok.

Eric Yap is being disingenuous and dishonest.

Since it was established by the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, "command responsibility" has never started and ended merely with low-level commanders. It's the reason why General Yamashita was charged for "unlawfully disregarding and failing to discharge his duty as a commander to control the acts of members of his command by permitting them to commit war crimes." Yamashita was executed in 1946, not for the atrocities he personally committed, but for the atrocities committed by the men under his command.

In his letter, this fool who is severely deficient in self-awareness, wrote:

"Let me be clear about this - those of us who are aware of, or have seen such acts being carried out but yet do not stop or report these acts, also bear responsibility. We cannot condone or allow any wrongdoing."

So the inevitable question that arises is : Was Eric Yap Wee Teck, Commissioner of SCDF, '"aware of [...] such acts?

If he is, this fool should, by his own declared standards that he trumpets out in a letter, "also bear responsibility" for not "stop[ping]" such "acts". If he claims otherwise, that he is not "aware" of such nonsense occurring under his command, he should be stripped of his Public Administration Medal (Silver). Such medals are awarded for "outstanding efficiency, competency and industry" and Eric Yap has shown himself to be incompetent and undeserving of the medal.

Next, he along with Col Michael Chua Commander, 4th Division and Maj Huang Weikang, Commander TVFS, must be charged under the Penal Code as abettors to the killing of Cpl Kok Yuen Chin. Chapter V (Abetment) of the Penal Code makes clear that these three can be held liable as abettors.

Unless they are held responsible, charged and sacked, such needless deaths of young men in the prime of their lives will continue. Parents who entrust their sons to the care of the state for National Service will have no assurance that their sons will come out the way they handed them over to the state, alive and with their limbs intact.
 
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