Undergrad falls to death after being locked out

Undergraduate Jung Haelin had reportedly left her matriculation card, which doubles as a key, in her room.
Undergraduate Jung Haelin had reportedly left her matriculation card, which doubles as a key, in her room.

NUS student was trying to climb into her room on seventh floor

An undergraduate who fell to her death while trying to climb into her residential hall room on the seventh floor had a habit of using an object to wedge the door open when she was out.

But last Saturday, the 18-year-old returned to find it locked.

That was when Ms Jung Haelin clambered out of a window in a bid to climb into her room, said her Thai boyfriend Arnon Rungarunsirichoke. The 17-year-old said: "Hall mates said she looked annoyed (before the incident), but she isn't one to take risks and she doesn't have a daredevil streak.

"I still don't know why she did what she did, she must have been in a rush to get or do something."

The incident took place at Sheares Hall in the National University of Singapore (NUS), where Ms Jung, a South Korean business student, had started school in August.

On that day, she left her room to cook lunch in a nearby pantry and left her matriculation card, used to unlock her door, in her room, recounted her boyfriend, based on what her hall mates had told him.

The door automatically locks when it swings shut.

The incident took place at NUS' Sheares Hall last Saturday.
The incident took place at NUS' Sheares Hall last Saturday. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

Sheares Hall is one of six residential halls in NUS and offers single-room accommodation for more than 500 students. An NUS spokesman said residents have been reminded to seek help from the hall office during office hours and resident fellows during non-office hours, if they are locked out of their rooms.

Speaking to The Straits Times over the phone from Thailand, Mr Rungarunsirichoke, who is waiting to enter pilot school, said Ms Jung was a cheerful and bubbly person who had been excited to start university.

"It was her dream to go to NUS, she thought it was the best school that could give her the best education," he said. She was in Singapore on her own while her parents and older sister live in India.

The couple met in high school in Tamil Naidu about 1½ years ago when their families moved to India.

A police spokesman told ST they were alerted to a case of a fall from height at around 11.40am last Saturday at Sheares Hall.

The woman was unconscious when she was taken to the National University Hospital, where she died of her injuries. Police are investigating the case as an unnatural death.

ST understands that Ms Jung was last seen at the seventh-floor pantry of Block C of Sheares Hall.

Her room was adjacent to the pantry, said Mr Rungarunsirichoke, who had spoken to Ms Jung on the morning of the incident.

NOT ONE TO TAKE RISKS

Hall mates said she looked annoyed (before the incident), but she isn't one to take risks and doesn't have a daredevil streak.

MR ARNON RUNGARUNSIRICHOKE, on his girlfriend Jung Haelin.

That afternoon, he received a message from her friend informing him Ms Jung had been hospitalised. He was told on Sunday that she had died, and he flew to Singapore on Monday for her wake and funeral.

A friend of Ms Jung's, undergraduate Philip Abraham, 18, who met her in high school, said: "She was a gem and has never wronged anyone. She always strived for greatness, as seen in her studies and how she motivated others."

Said the NUS spokesman: "We are deeply saddened by the incident, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the student. NUS staff and counsellors are in touch with the student's family and friends to provide support and assistance."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2017, with the headline 'Undergrad falls to death after being locked out'. Print Edition | Subscribe