1-Altitude guard who fell into pit and died: Family seeking answers

Part-time guard Shaun Tung fell into a construction manhole trying to keep two customers away from a barricaded area.
Part-time guard Shaun Tung fell into a construction manhole trying to keep two customers away from a barricaded area.PHOTOS: REBECCA TUNG
Mr Tung, who worked at rooftop bar 1-Altitude, fell into a 4m-deep pit on the roof of One Raffles Place and died. Security guard Shaun Tung's father Tung Kim Swee, mother Chan Lian Poh and sister Rebecca at his wake in Geylang Bahru.
Security guard Shaun Tung's father Tung Kim Swee, mother Chan Lian Poh and sister Rebecca at his wake in Geylang Bahru. Mr Tung, who worked at rooftop bar 1-Altitude, fell into a 4m-deep pit on the roof of One Raffles Place and died. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

A security guard of rooftop bar 1-Altitude who fell into a 4m-deep pit and died on Sunday was apparently trying to keep two customers away from a barricaded area, colleagues who witnessed the accident told his family.

Mr Shaun Tung, 26, had spotted the duo entering the cordoned-off area just after midnight on Sunday and ran across in an attempt to stop them. He likely did not know there was a hole in the ground, his family told The Straits Times last night.

Mr Tung was a part-time guard at the alfresco bar on the roof of One Raffles Place, a 63-storey building.

Police have classified the case as unnatural death and investigations are ongoing. They had said the hole was a construction manhole.

Meanwhile, the building's owner, OUB Centre, and the Manpower Ministry said the accident happened in an area cordoned off for exterior building cleaning works.

It is not known if the hole was covered at the time of the accident and who the two trespassers were.

Mr Tung, a father of a two-year-old son, was cremated yesterday evening.


Mr Tung, who worked at rooftop bar 1-Altitude, fell into a 4m-deep pit on the roof of One Raffles Place and died. Security guard Shaun Tung's father Tung Kim Swee, mother Chan Lian Poh and sister Rebecca at his wake in Geylang Bahru. PHOTO: COURTESY OF KAI

In an interview at the family home in Punggol, his parents and older sister said they were seeking answers to the circumstances surrounding his death.

Mr Tung had worked part time at 1-Altitude for about a year and did one or two night shifts a month.

His father Tung Kim Swee, 64, who is a surveyor, visited the site on the fateful Sunday and estimated the rectangular hole was about 1.3m wide and 1.6m long. He also said the area was unlit and he had no idea the hole was there until it was pointed out to him. The hole was not covered when he saw it.

"Nobody could explain to us why the hole was there. They just said it was for upgrading works," he added.

Mr Tung's sister Rebecca, 30, a flight attendant, said it was likely her brother was not told about it before he started his shift.

She added that her family was at a loss over who was at fault. "We really don't know anything and no amount of 'sorrys' is enough.

"All we ask for is justice."

 

She said her brother was very hard-working. He was a full-time gym trainer and had two other part-time jobs, including one in rehabilitation therapy.

He was taking night classes for a diploma in sport coaching at Republic Polytechnic for the past two years, and planned for further studies after completing the diploma. Mr Tung was a keen learner, and would stay awake up till 2am to study on some nights.

He held several jobs as he wanted to finance both his studies and support his wife Gaycee Buton, 32, and son Shaun Maui Buton Tung, both of whom are based in the Philippines.


Mr Shaun Tung, who works three part-time jobs, would withdraw his pay every month and divide them into neat stacks with labels for his various expenditures. He would also pass some money to his mum when he manages to earn extra income in the month. ST PHOTO: TOH TING WEI

He would send over money monthly for his wife's and son's expenses, fly to the country on special occasions, such as birthdays, and also pay for them to fly to Singapore.

Beyond that, he sometimes gave money to his mother Chan Lian Poh, 59, while saving up for future expenses.

Madam Chan showed ST Mr Tung's petty cash box where stacks of $50 notes were neatly sorted into different piles, such as for school fees, leisure and transport expenses.

She said Mr Tung was very independent since he was young, and had always worked to buy things that he wanted instead of asking for money from his parents.

Madam Chan last spoke with him about an hour before the accident happened. Mr Tung told her that he was working, and would speak to her when he returned home.

She said tearfully: "My heart is very bitter, I don't know how I will move on. He told me he would take care of me and my husband in our old age. But... he has already left us."

• Additional reporting by Salome Ong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2019, with the headline 'Guard who fell into pit and died: Family seeking answers'. Print Edition | Subscribe