SCDF officer seeks family's forgiveness outside court

Mr Kok Meng Hwa (left) with his sisters Helen Kok (in white) and Karen Kok at the State Courts yesterday. Mr Kok's son, Corporal Kok Yuen Chin (above), died in a ragging ritual in May.
Mr Kok Meng Hwa (above) with his sisters Helen Kok (in white) and Karen Kok at the State Courts yesterday. Mr Kok's son, Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, died in a ragging ritual in May.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Mr Kok Meng Hwa (left) with his sisters Helen Kok (in white) and Karen Kok at the State Courts yesterday. Mr Kok's son, Corporal Kok Yuen Chin (above), died in a ragging ritual in May.
Corporal Kok Yuen Chin died in a ragging ritual in May.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

The moment Mr Kok Meng Hwa stepped out of the courtroom, the man who had pushed his son into a fire station pump well went up to him, grasped his hand and apologised.

Tears streamed down Mr Kok's face, but the 56-year-old construction worker did not respond to Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood, a regular in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

The brief encounter on Tuesday (Oct 23) took place outside a courtroom in the State Courts where Nur Fatwa, 34, had earlier pleaded guilty to pushing Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, 22, into a 12m-deep well at Tuas View Fire Station, causing him to drown.

The tragedy took place on the night of May 13, which had begun on a celebratory note.

Cpl Kok, who was serving his last day of duty before his operationally ready date on May 16, had taken part in a ragging ritual involving him getting into the pump well filled with water.

He did not know how to swim and drowned after he was pushed in, said court documents.

On Tuesday, Nur Fatwa was sentenced to one year and four weeks in jail after he admitted to causing death by a rash act and abetting the obstruction of justice.

 
 
 

Four other SCDF officers have also been charged over the incident.

Cpl Kok's father and aunts were in court to witness the sentencing.

As Mr Kok stood silent when Nur Fatwa sought forgiveness, his younger sister, Madam Helen Kok, 55, a nurse, said: "You all shouldn't have played this game.

"Why didn't you all think of the consequences?"

Nur Fatwa, who is out on bail, held her hand and apologised repeatedly.

After he left, Mr Kok told reporters in Mandarin: "From his expression, I could sense his remorse."

When asked for his views on the sentence, he said: "I have nothing to say because no matter how long it is, my son won't return."

He added that if the motivations for the ragging were not malicious but were for "fun", then his son would not have wanted his friends to get a heavy sentence.

"But I can't ask him about this because he is no longer here."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'SCDF officer seeks family's forgiveness outside court'. Print Edition | Subscribe