70-year-old newspaper vendor killed in accident; bus and lorry drivers arrested

Police at the scene where a 70-year-old newspaper vendor was killed in an accident with a lorry and a bus in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
SBS Transit said that based on eyewitness accounts, the motorcyclist had been involved in another accident and was lying on the road. The bus captain could not avoid him in time. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - Before the sun rose each day, Mr Ho Swee Hai would already be out delivering newspapers around the Shunfu area on his motorcycle - as he had done for more than 50 years.

But the 70-year-old made his rounds for the last time on Thursday morning (Feb 21). He was killed in an accident involving a bus and a lorry on his way home.

Police said they were alerted to the accident in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, in the direction of Upper Thomson Road, at 6am.

The motorcyclist, Mr Ho, was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

Police have arrested the bus driver, 46, for causing death by a negligent act. The bus driver was from SBS Transit.

The 28-year-old lorry driver was also arrested for causing death by a rash act.

Ms Tammy Tan, senior vice-president of corporate communications at SBS Transit, said that based on eyewitness accounts, the motorcyclist had just been involved in another accident and was lying on the road when the bus approached.

"Unfortunately, our bus captain was not able to avoid him in time," Ms Tan said.

She added: "We are very sad that this has happened and are trying to get in touch with the gentleman's next of kin to assist them during this difficult time."

Mr Ho used to deliver newspapers for media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which prints The Straits Times, among other newspapers.

Even though he had retired in 2013, he was still helping his brother, who is a registered newspaper vendor with SPH. Mr Ho was the eldest of five brothers.

Mr Chua Wee Phong, executive vice-president of circulation at SPH, extended the company's deepest condolences to his family.

"We are sad to learn about the accident that resulted in the death of our newspaper vendor, Mr Ho Swee Hai, who devoted more than 50 years of his life distributing our newspapers to our readers," he said.

Newspapers, presumably from the late Mr Ho Swee Hai's motorcycle, strewn across the road where the accident happened. PHOTOS: LIANHE WANBAO READER

Speaking to ST, Mr Ho's younger brother, Mr Aw Boon Leong, said his family was saddened by the news.

He said his late brother was dedicated to his job. They had been working together since they were in their 20s.

"He would wake up at 2am every day, have his coffee at the food centre in Shunfu, and begin delivering, finishing by about 6am," said the 58-year-old.

In photos provided to Chinese-language daily Lianhe Wanbao, newspapers can be seen strewn across the road at the site of the accident.

A red motorcycle, identified as Mr Ho's, was lying on its side on the road. In another photo, the SBS Transit bus can be seen being towed away.

Mr Aw, who still delivers newspapers for SPH, said the family would be able to retrieve Mr Ho's body only on Friday as the police were conducting investigations.

In response to queries, the police said they are appealing for witnesses to come forward to assist with investigations.

Correction note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct surname of Mr Ho Swee Hai.

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