S. Korea trip for 14 who helped free man under truck

Korean Association chairman Noh Chong Hyun (front row, third from right) and association staff with some of the rescuers who helped accident victim Kim Sung Mo.
Korean Association chairman Noh Chong Hyun (front row, third from right) and association staff with some of the rescuers who helped accident victim Kim Sung Mo.PHOTO: KOREAN ASSOCIATION IN SINGAPORE

When Mr Ekwin Chua, 39, braved danger to free a South Korean man pinned under a truck last month, getting the victim to safety was the only thing on his mind.

"My colleagues and I were crossing the road at the time, and when we saw what happened, we dashed through a red light to help," said the sales manager. "We just wanted to get him out from under the truck as soon as possible."

Now, Mr Chua and 13 other good Samaritans who rescued Mr Kim Sung Mo will be rewarded for their courageous deed in a big way - with a five-day trip to South Korea.

The trip, scheduled for next month, will take them sightseeing and shopping in Seoul. It was announced during an appreciation ceremony hosted by the Korean Association in Singapore on Tuesday.

The idea was mooted by the association's chairman, Mr Noh Chong Hyun, 63, who wanted to find a special way to express the local Korean community's gratitude to Mr Kim's rescuers.

"I wanted to do something special since it's the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and South Korea," Mr Noh told The Straits Times, "so I approached Asiana Airlines and the Korea Tourism Organisation about my plan, and they readily came on board as sponsors."

Mr Kim, 35, was hit at the junction of Boon Keng and Bendeemer roads on July 22. Video footage of about 30 bystanders helping to free him went viral. Mr Kim, who was on a business trip, escaped with a leg fracture and has since returned to South Korea.

For the men and women of different nationalities who came to his aid, the reward was a surprise.

"When we heard the announcement, we thought it was a joke," said Mr Chua, who works at Spectrum Brands Singapore. Three of his colleagues will also go.

"We were also told we could bring a guest,," added Mr Chua, who will take his mum or dad.

Fellow rescuer Andrew Tung, 35, who works at Continental Automotive, said: "I never expected to receive anything in return for helping Mr Kim, so this reward came as a wonderful surprise."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2015, with the headline 'S. Korea trip for 14 who helped free man under truck'. Print Edition | Subscribe