SCDF ragging death: Officer found guilty of negligent act that endangered human life

Nazhan Mohamed Nazi was deputy commander of the station during the incident.
Nazhan Mohamed Nazi was deputy commander of the station during the incident.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officer was convicted by the district court on Tuesday (Aug 18) over his involvement in a ragging incident that claimed the life of a full-time national serviceman two years ago.

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

The subordinates, who are SCDF servicemen, had pressured Corporal Kok Yuen Chin, an NSF, to enter the 12m-deep pump well at Tuas View Fire Station that night to mark the impending completion of his national service.

Cpl Kok eventually drowned after he was pushed into the well by another serviceman, Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood.

At the time of the incident, Nazhan was deputy commander of the station, while his colleague, Kenneth Chong Chee Boon, 40, was the commander.

Both men were originally charged with one count each of intentionally aiding the servicemen to cause grievous hurt to Cpl Kok via a rash act endangering human life, which they contested.

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

After a trial, Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun amended the charge that each man faced to one of performing a negligent act that endangered human life.

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

However, they were obliged to ensure Cpl Kok's life was not endangered while he was on duty, the judge had said.

While Chong had admitted to the new charge, Nazhan had decided to contest it.

In their submissions against the new charge, Nazhan's lawyers, Mr Singa Retnam and Ms Josephine Iezu Costan, argued that Nazhan had no awareness that Cpl Kok would have been pushed into the well as he had already left the area by then.

 
 
 
 

"Surely he cannot be held for any negligence regarding events that took place after he had left the scene," they said.

Senior District Judge Ong disagreed on Tuesday, holding that there was sufficient evidence to convict Nazhan.

Chong and Nazhan are expected to be back in court on Sept 15.

Both men can each be jailed for up to three months and/or fined up to $1,500 for their offences.

The duo are also the last two individuals to be dealt with in court over the tragedy.

Three SCDF regulars, who were the pair's subordinates then, had earlier been convicted and sentenced over their involvement in the incident.

Nur Fatwa, who admitted to the fatal push, was sentenced to jail for a year and four weeks, while his colleague Mohamed Farid Mohd Saleh was sentenced to 13 months' jail for instigating Nur Fatwa.

The remaining serviceman, Adighazali Suhaimi, was jailed for a month for deleting video footage of the incident captured on his mobile phone.