Ex-NSF jailed for pointing empty gun and pulling trigger

A police full-time national serviceman (NSF) who pointed an empty revolver at another NSF, pulled the trigger and later lied about it was sentenced to two months' jail yesterday.

Justin Degoulange-Chua was the leader of a patrol team attached to the Public Transport Security Command (Transcom) when he caused alarm to the victim, Mr Muhammad Syukri Rahiman, 21, in a police room at Bugis MRT station on March 5 last year.

Degoulange-Chua, 21, who is now a student, also admitted to giving false information to a public servant on May 5 the same year, when he said he did not point the firearm at anyone but had taken it out to check it.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ho Lian-Yi said Degoulange-Chua was deployed to conduct foot patrols with the victim and three others that day. It was the first day of patrols for the victim and another NSF police officer, after the completion of the basic Transcom course.

Hours later when they were taking a break in the police room, Degoulange-Chua talked about the team's culture, which required rookies to perform push-ups and jumping jacks, among other things.

He then ordered the victim to get into a push-up position. When the victim was on all fours, DPP Ho said the accused took out the victim's extendable T-baton from its holster, and placed it on the victim's back, and told him to continue with the push-ups.

The victim only managed to do one before the T-baton fell on the floor. The accused then told the victim to get up. The assistant group leader, who witnessed the entire incident, recorded it discreetly on his mobile phone and later, shared it via Snapchat.

When the victim was sitting at a table, Degoulange-Chua unbuckled his right holster, drew his Taurus revolver and took out all the five live rounds. He then placed four live rounds on the table and held one in his left hand.

After closing the chamber of the revolver, he asked the victim how many bullets were on the table. The victim replied there were four.

Degoulange-Chua then said there was one round in the revolver. He pointed the weapon at the victim and squeezed the trigger at least once. DPP Ho said: "The victim jumped out of his seat in alarm and shouted for the accused to stop. The victim was afraid he would be hurt or even killed if the revolver was, in fact, loaded."

The accused lied in a written statement to a Transcom Base officer that he did not point his revolver at anyone. He came clean more than three months later.

DPP Ho told the court that the accused violated the trust placed in him by using his firearm to bully and strike fear in one of his own men. Degoulange-Chua's lawyer S. Balamurugan said his client has personally apologised to the victim.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-NSF jailed for pointing empty gun and pulling trigger'. Print Edition | Subscribe