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Singapore

Upper Bukit Timah deaths: Father of 11-year-old boys charged with murder of one son

02:16 Min
The father of 11-year-old twin boys found dead near Greenridge Crescent playground in Upper Bukit Timah has been charged in court with murdering one of them. The 48-year-old man has been identified as Xavier Yap Jung Houn. The prosecutor requested for Yap to be remanded for a week to aid with investigations such as scene visits. He will return to court on 31 Jan. If found guilty, he faces the death penalty. According to court documents, the father allegedly murdered his son, Yap E Chern Ethan, in the covered canal near the playground sometime between 4.23pm and 6.25pm on Jan 21.

SINGAPORE: The father of two 11-year-old brothers found dead in Upper Bukit Timah was charged on Monday (Jan 24) with the murder of one of his sons.

According to the charge sheet, Xavier Yap Jung Houn, 48, is accused of committing murder by causing the death of Yap E Chern Ethan at a covered canal at Greenridge Crescent playground between 4.23pm and 6.25pm on Jan 21. 

Yap was arrested after the brothers were found lying motionless "in the vicinity" of the playground, police said late Saturday night.

Only one charge was tendered in court on Monday morning. If convicted, he faces the death penalty.

The police said in response to CNA's queries that they were unable to comment on the case regarding Yap's other son - identified as Ashton Yap over the weekend by the Straits Times - as court proceedings were ongoing.

The police prosecutor asked for Yap to be remanded for one week with permission to be taken out for investigations. He is required for scene visits and to recover exhibits, said the prosecutor.

Yap was dressed in a white collared shirt and blue mask and listened to court proceedings from his place in remand with no expression. 

He was represented by lawyer Anil Singh Sandhu, who asked the court if the media could give the family space to grieve the loss of two young children.

"Your honour, the media is present this morning in court and the victims here are two young children aged 11," he said.

"(In) the past few days, the media has been quite active in reporting this matter, but I'm sincerely urging the media to give the family some space and privacy to deal with the loss of two young children."

The judge asked Yap if he had any questions, and Yap said he had none. The case was adjourned to Jan 31 for further mention.

Two white vans carrying the bodies of the boys were seen leaving a mortuary on Monday afternoon.

The case sparked an outpouring of grief and sympathy in the community. People were seen making offerings by a canal on Saturday afternoon, with some members of the public leaving bouquets and stalks of flowers the following day.

An inter-faith prayer session, attended by representatives from six religious organisations, was held along the canal on Sunday morning.

The incident caused "shock and sadness" not just in residents but people throughout Singapore, said Ms Sim Ann, Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. She urged the public to refrain from speculation.

Yap had called the police for help at a playground along Greenridge Crescent on Friday evening. When police officers arrived at the scene, the two brothers were found lying motionless "in the vicinity of the playground", police said on Saturday night.

The boys were pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic. The case sparked a search in the forested area in Upper Bukit Timah near Toh Tuck Road. Residents reported heavy police presence, including the deployment of Gurkhas and the police's K-9 unit.

After the police followed up on all possible leads and conducted round-the-clock investigations, Yap was arrested, police said late Saturday night.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that, according to the documents released after the court hearing, the man has been charged with the murder of one of his sons.

Source: CNA/ll(mi/aj)
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