Singapore

Bionix incident: SAF captain found guilty of rash act in death of NSF Liu Kai


SINGAPORE: A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) captain has been found guilty of a rash act linked to the death of a full-time nationwide serviceman (NSF) who died after being pinned in a Land Rover by a Bionix automobile three years in the past.

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Ong Lin Jie, 30, was convicted on Monday (Nov 22) of one cost of doing a rash act not amounting to culpable murder by failing to maintain a secure distance of 30m between the 2 autos.

Ong, a daily officer and platoon coach with the Armour Unit Training Regiment, was participating in a three-day coaching train close to Sungei Gedong Camp in November 2018 with the sufferer, 22-year-old Liu Kai.

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BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

The coaching train concerned the Kaffir Company and Jaguar Company from the forty second Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment and was meant to coach Kaffir Company’s operational capabilities.

Kaffir Company was tasked to advance in the direction of and safe an goal referred to as the Murai Urban Training Facility, whereas the platoon from Jaguar Company acted because the “opposition force” for the train, and was to delay Kaffir Company’s advance with a series of “delay lines” and simulated firefights.

The opposition pressure consisted of three Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) – BX13A, BX13B and BX13, the automobile concerned in the deadly incident.

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Ong was a platoon coach, tasked to supervise the opposition pressure’s manoeuvres and be certain that the pressure adhered to security procedures. He was additionally the automobile commander of the Land Rover pushed by CFC Liu. The Rover was assigned to him so he may transfer across the train space in his function as a platoon coach.

Ong ordered the sufferer, who was posthumously promoted to Corporal First Class (CFC), to overhaul BX13 with out first establishing communications with the Bionix and when it was unsafe to take action.

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As a consequence, the Bionix – an armoured tracked automobile armed with both a cannon or an computerized grenade launcher and heavy machine gun – reversed into the Land Rover, mounting the driving force’s facet and pinning CFC Liu in his seat.

The prosecution had argued that Ong had rashly ordered CFC Liu to overhaul the Bionix, “despite having every reason to believe that it was dangerous to do so in the circumstances”.

“His rash act placed the Land Rover in an unsafe proximity to BX13, which was the substantial cause of the collision, and ultimately, Liu Kai’s death,” they mentioned.

ONG’S DEFENCE

In his defence, Ong had given two causes for ordering CFC Liu to overhaul the Bionix along with his Land Rover.

First, he didn’t wish to be in the best way of a “fire fight”, as he assessed that the Kaffir Company Forces have been nonetheless in the north, and there was a “high possibility” that they could come by and have interaction BX13 from its rear.

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Second, he assessed that the platoon commander of Jaguar Company had noticed BX13B to be on the junction forward, based mostly on radio communication.

He blamed BX13 for CFC Liu’s death, alleging that it modified course whereas reversing, which introduced it into the trail of the Land Rover.

Ong had been questioned over a interval of greater than 5 months from the day of the incident. In her judgment on Monday, District Judge Jasvender Kaur mentioned she didn’t maintain the contents of his first two statements in opposition to him, as they have been recorded on the identical day of the “traumatic incident”.

However, in his third assertion on Nov 5, 2018, Ong mentioned he had “revisited” occasions and needed to make additions to his assertion to be “very clear” and help investigations. He gave particulars referring to the collision, however didn’t disclose that he ordered an overtake of the Bionix.

THE JUDGE ON ONG’S “SELECTIVE AMNESIA”

When confronted with investigation findings that he had ordered the overtaking of BX13, Ong initially mentioned he couldn’t recall and was “in shock and in trauma”, with a spot in his reminiscence.

The choose mentioned Ong’s proof that he was “surprised” that he gave the command to overhaul squarely contradicts an assertion he made that he had assessed it to be secure earlier than he gave the command.

“With respect to his claim of the ‘gap’ in his memory, (a statement Ong gave) provided details of the events which preceded and followed the overtaking,” mentioned Judge Kaur.

“He coincidentally lost recollection only of the overtaking. This is inherently implausible and I find his selective amnesia was deliberate.”

During the investigation course of, Ong had requested to take heed to footage when requested to elucidate the explanation for ordering CFC Liu to bypass the Bionix.

However, after viewing the footage “for quite a while”, he concluded that he couldn’t recall why he ordered the overtaking, saying that he couldn’t make out some of the phrases spoken in the footage.

The choose concluded that Ong once more had “selective amnesia” and was unable to elucidate how he had “properly considered” the scenario earlier than directing the overtaking.

She found that the collision was “the natural consequence of the lack of safe distance for the Bionix to execute its extrication manoeuvre which was caused by the Land Rover’s failure to adhere to the 30m safety distance” and its failure to speak its intention to overhaul when it was unsafe to take action.

“The duty of ensuring the safety distance and to communicate was the responsibility of the accused,” mentioned Judge Kaur. 

She didn’t discover that the actions of the corporal who reversed BX13 had eclipsed Ong’s wrongdoing, or broke the chain of causation. Instead, she dominated that it was Ong’s actions which have been the substantial trigger of CFC Liu’s demise.

Ong, who has been suspended, will return to court docket for mitigation and sentencing in December.

For a rash act not amounting to culpable murder, he might be jailed for as much as 5 years, fined, or each.

Others have been hauled to court docket over the incident, with three males fined in December 2019 for breaching the Official Secrets Act over leaked photographs of the accident.


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