Ionescu death: Victim gave up dreams of joining national rowing team

Mr Muhammad Haris Abu Talib, a full-time national serviceman, suffered a torn ligament in his left ankle in a hit-and-run accident on Dec 15, 2009. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Mr Muhammad Haris Abu Talib, a full-time national serviceman, suffered a torn ligament in his left ankle in a hit-and-run accident on Dec 15, 2009. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE: His dream of joining the national rowing team were dashed when he was hit by former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu as he was riding his skate scooter.

Mr Muhammad Haris Abu Talib, 23, suffered from a torn ligament in his left ankle from the accident but has since recovered fully.

Romanian media reported earlier this week that Ionescu died in a Bucharest jail hospital. He was sentenced to six years in jail by a Bucharest appeals court in February for the hit-and-run accident along Bukit Panjang road which killed 30-year-old Malaysian Tong Kok Wai and injured Mr Haris and Malaysian Bong Hwee Haw, then 24, who suffered head injuries.

The civil servant added that work keeps him busy these days, and he does not think about the accident anymore. He stopped riding his skate scooter for one and a half years after that, but has since gone back to it.

He said: "I enjoy it and it's a form of exercise for me. I don't do it often now, I only use it from time to time to go to the nearby shops. But now, I take my time and I don't rush to be safe."

He told The Straits Times on Wednesday night that he was at work when his friend told him about Ionescu's death.

"I was shocked and felt sad for him. I mean, he has family too...I'm pretty sure it's very sad for his wife to know her husband has died in a jail hospital. Every death is a sad thing to hear.

"I have already forgiven him for what he has done. I just feel that things happen for a reason and that was just one of the episodes in my life. I have to move on too," he said.