Feature

Timeline of the hit-and-run case involving former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu

Former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu, who was involved in a deadly hit-and-run accident in Singapore in December 2009, has passed away in a Bucharest jail hospital. --PHOTO: SPH 
Former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu, who was involved in a deadly hit-and-run accident in Singapore in December 2009, has passed away in a Bucharest jail hospital. --PHOTO: SPH 

Here's a look at the events since the deadly hit-and-run accident in Singapore that led to the conviction of ex-Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu.

Dec 15, 2009Three people are injured in a hit-and-run at 3am on Bukit Panjang Road. Witnesses say the car was a black Audi A6, belonging to the Romanian embassy.

Silviu02

Dec 16, 2009Silviu Ionescu, charge d'affaires at the Romanian Embassy, tells local media that he last saw the car at 1.30am on the night of the accident. He says he has reported the theft of the car to the police.

Dec 18, 2009Ionescu leaves Singapore for Romania, citing a check-up for his diabetes condition.

Dec 25, 2009One of the victims, Mr Tong Kok Wai, 30, is taken off life support and dies.

The other two, Mr Bong Hwee Haw, 24, and 18-year-old Muhamad Haris Abu Talib (below), are in stable condition.Muhammadharisabutalib101214

Dec 31, 2009A taxi driver comes forward with evidence that he picked up Ionescu near the scene of the accident that night at 3.30am. While in the taxi, Ionescu calls the police to report his missing car, the cabby says.

Jan 3, 2010Ionescu tells a Romanian tabloid that he plans to return to Singapore soon. He speculates that thieves had forced down the window of the Audi to get to the spare key inside the car. It is understood that the car bore no signs of a break-in.

Jan 6, 2010The Romanian Foreign Ministry recalls Ionescu to face an inquiry and says that he is not exempt from the jurisdiction of his home state.

Jan 7, 2010Ionescu tells Romanian media that he will not return to Singapore but will assist with investigations in Romania.

Bonghweehaw091216

Jan 27, 2010The Singapore Police say that they have evidence that Ionescu was the hit-and-run driver.

Feb 3, 2010Romanian prosecutors bring charges of manslaughter, making a false report and fleeing the scene of an accident against Ionescu. He could face two to seven years in jail.

Feb 6, 2010Ionescu tells Romanian media that he is being framed by the Singapore Government for his "reporting" on political activities.

The Singapore Government says the allegations are baseless, a gross insult to the victims of the accident and a serious attack on its integrity. It summons Ionescu back to Singapore to take part in the inquiry into the accident.

Feb 12, 2010Romania waives diplomatic immunity for embassy driver Marius Trusca so that he can be a witness at the inquiry.

The Romanian Foreign Ministry also calls Ionescu's allegations of a set-up "lurid" and undeserving of comment "because they are devoid of any relevance". But it cannot compel Ionescu to return to Singapore for the inquiry because he has been suspended from the diplomatic service, it says.

Yennyyoung02101214

March 3, 2010Singapore's inquiry into the accident begins, with 50 witnesses taking the stand. Ionescu says that he will not attend because illness prevents him from flying back to Singapore.

March 31, 2010State Coroner Victor Yeo concludes that Ionescu was behind the wheel and calls his actions "cowardly and irresponsible". Reached by telephone in Romania, Ionescu calls this "bulls***".

April 15, 2010Romania says that Ionescu has no diplomatic immunity to prevent him from facing charges in Singapore as he has been recalled from his post.

But, a lack of an extradition treaty between Singapore and Romania is a barrier to his return. An international arrest warrant for him is issued by Interpol.

May 7, 2010Romanian prosecutors question Ionescu for six hours and a Bucharest court places him under preventive detention.

May 30, 2010Romanian prosecutors fly to Singapore to gather evidence for their case against Ionescu.

July 1, 2010Romanian prosecutors indict Ionescu for homicide, causing physical injuries and false statements. Meanwhile, one of the victims, Mr Bong Hwee Haw, 24, files a civil suit against Ionescu for over $630,000.

July 27, 2010Ionescu's trial in Romania begins.

Silviu01

May 15, 2011Mr Bong (centre in picture) is awarded $360,000 in damages by the Singapore High Court.

Bonghweehaw091214

March 27, 2013Ionescu is found guilty of manslaughter by a Bucharest court and sentenced to three years in jail, less than half the maximum penalty.

Feb 13, 2014A Bucharest appeals court doubles the sentence to six years, agreeing with prosecutors that the original sentence is too lenient

Dec 10, 2014Ionescu dies in a Bucharest jail hospital of cardio-respiratory problems.Source: The Straits Times archives, AFP