Drowning of SCDF NSF: Incident a ‘clear violation’ of rules, says Shanmugam

Drowning of SCDF NSF: Incident a ‘clear violation’ of rules, says Shanmugam

Shanmugam on SCDF NSF death
Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has pledged to get to the bottom of the incident that left one Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time national serviceman (NSF) dead.

SINGAPORE: Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Monday (May 14) pledged to get to the bottom of the incident that left one Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time national serviceman (NSF) dead.

Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, 22, died on Sunday after being found unconscious at the bottom of a 12m-deep fire station pump well which was filled with water.

CPL Kok was celebrating his impending ORD, which was supposed to fall on Wednesday, when the incident happened, Mr Shanmugam said, confirming that he had drowned.

"This boy died last night during a celebration gone wrong," Mr Shanmugam told reporters on Monday.

"The facts I've been given so far, they make it quite clear that conduct was quite wrong of some of the people involved. It was in clear violation of SCDF’s rules, it should not have happened, unacceptable, period."

While Mr Shanmugam declined to go into details of the incident due to ongoing investigations, he said the "facts will come out".

"I’ve also asked SCDF to do an audit," he added. "Any other evidence of such conduct, take action, because we have to send a clear message. 

"When conduct which is not sanctioned has taken place, celebration or otherwise, action has been taken, but then after awhile people forget and then break the rules again."

When asked if CPL Kok had participated in an unauthorised activity, Mr Shanmugam said it would be inappropriate to comment at the "risk of not being complete and accurate".

"As you can see, two regular officers are under arrest," he said. "It’s likely that there will be charges pressed in court. They will have a right to defend themselves."

SCDF deputy commissioner (DC) Chong Hoi Hung said SCDF does not condone unauthorised activities and will "take the officers to task" if they are found to have broken the rules.

"We have been telling our commanders to brief the men properly to ensure that they do not undertake such unauthorised activities," he said.

"At the onset itself, when our men come into the SCDF, when they undergo training, they have been briefed and told not to. After they have been posted to the units, there are constant reminders by the commanders to warn them of such unauthorised activities."

Mr Shanmugam said SCDF sets out what is acceptable and unacceptable conduct and has taken action during previous breaches. "We have to try and stamp it out," he reiterated.

The minister added that he, together with DC Chong, met with CPL Kok's family earlier on Monday.

"It was a tragic loss of life (involving a) young man full of potential,” Mr Shanmugam said of the incident. "Nothing is going to bring the young man back to life.”

Source: CNA/nc/(gs)

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