Last 2 SCDF officers linked to 2018 ragging death each sentenced to 10 weeks' jail

Kenneth Chong Chee Boon (left) was the commander, while Nazhan Mohamed Nazi was the deputy commander of Tuas View Fire Station at the time.
Kenneth Chong Chee Boon (left) was the commander, while Nazhan Mohamed Nazi was the deputy commander of Tuas View Fire Station at the time.ST PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - Two Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers were each sentenced to 10 weeks' imprisonment on Tuesday (Sept 15) over their involvement in a 2018 ragging incident that led to the death of a full-time national serviceman (NSF).

Following a trial, Nazhan Mohamed Nazi, 42, was found guilty last month of acting negligently by failing to prevent his subordinates from carrying out the ragging activity on the night of May 13, 2018.

Nazhan was the deputy commander of Tuas View Fire Station at the time.

His colleague, Kenneth Chong Chee Boon, 40, who was the commander,  had pleaded guilty to a similar offence in July.

The pair were the last two to be dealt with in court after the incident.

Before sentencing them on Tuesday, Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun said that they had been “grossly negligent” and that death was the worst outcome that could happen.

The judge added that a strong stance must be taken to ensure that the safety of servicemen remains paramount.

Some of the pair's subordinates had pressured the NSF, Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, 22, to enter a 12m-deep pump well at the fire station that evening to mark the impending completion of his national service.

He drowned after another of his colleagues, Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood, 34, pushed him in.

Three SCDF regulars, including Nur Fatwa, had earlier been convicted and sentenced over their involvement in the drowning.

Nur Fatwa was sentenced to a year and four weeks' jail in October 2018 after he admitted to the fatal push.

 
 
 

Nazhan and Chong were originally charged with intentionally aiding a group of SCDF servicemen to cause grievous hurt to Cpl Kok via a rash act endangering human life.

Those convicted of this offence can be jailed for up to four years and fined up to $10,000.

But after an earlier trial, Judge Ong reduced their charges to the current one - that of performing a negligent act by failing to prevent their subordinates from carrying out the ragging activity on May 13, 2018.

Those convicted of this offence can be jailed for up to three months and fined up to $1,500.

In delivering his reasons in July for amending the charge, the judge had noted that it was Nur Fatwa who pushed Cpl Kok into the well that evening.

The judge had also said that Chong and Nazhan were not present at the well, adding that the pair did not have the opportunity to intervene or take preventive action at the time.

He, however, stressed that there had been a "dereliction of duty" on the part of both men.

The judge had said that Chong and Nazhan were obliged to ensure Cpl Kok's life was not endangered while he was on duty. 

Chong began serving his sentence on Tuesday.

 
 

Meanwhile, Nazhan’s defence lawyer, Mr Singa Retnam, told the court that his client intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence. His bail was then set at $15,000.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan also told the court that the prosecution will also be appealing against the earlier order to amend the charge.

Cpl Kok’s father, construction worker Kok Meng Hwa, was in court on Tuesday to observe the proceedings.

He later told reporters outside the courtroom: “What else can I feel? My son is gone in another world...The incident has already happened.”