Guilt will weigh on ex-diplomat forever: Victim

This article was first published on Feb 15, 2014

His dreams of making the national rowing team were snuffed out just over four years ago, when he was one of three victims of a hit-and-run accident.

But despite the doubling of former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu's jail term from three to six years, Mr Muhammad Haris Abu Talib said it does not really matter any more.

"No matter how long his jail term is, at the end of the day the sense of guilt will forever weigh on his mind," he told The Straits Times yesterday in a phone interview while en route to a Valentine's Day dinner with his girlfriend of one year.

"Perhaps six years is slightly more justified, but it doesn't really matter."

Mr Haris, 22 and a full-time national serviceman, suffered a torn ligament in his left ankle in the Dec 15, 2009 accident.

But life has been on the mend for him since the fateful accident at a Bukit Panjang junction that killed one and injured two.

He has now fully recovered from his injuries and even goes to the gym and plays football.

"(My ankle) does not restrict me in any way," said the holder of a diploma in digital entertainment electronics from Republic Polytechnic.

"But I know my limits and I don't push myself," he added.

A lengthy recovery meant he had to give up rowing but he said it was a "blessing in disguise" as he developed a passion for street photography.

He has invested more than $3,000 of his savings into the hobby and has not ruled out taking it up as a full-time job.

Former croupier Bong Hwee Haw, now 28, suffered head injuries in the crash. He has returned to Malaysia.

Malaysian hotel manager Tong Kok Wai, 30, suffered brain damage in the crash - just three weeks after he got married.

His widow made the heartbreaking decision to take him off life support 10 days after the accident.

Madam Yenny Young, now 34, has also moved on after the tragedy.

She returned to her home city of Solo, Indonesia, and remarried in 2012 to a businessman who runs an electrical shop.

Madam Young, now a housewife, gave birth to a daughter last year.

She said via e-mail when contacted about the latest developments: "I am sorry, I don't have any comment.

"All I can say is that I am happy with my new family. All of us, my family and friends, never talk about Mr Tong any more."