On the morning of 26 January, Benjamin Lim, a secondary three student was taken to the police station for investigation by five plainclothes police officers from his school and was interviewed for over 3 hours.
Benjamin was being alleged to have molested an 11-year-old girl on Monday afternoon which he denies.
Shortly after returning home with his mother and sister from the police station, he locked himself in his room and jumped out the window. (read more)
The death of the 14-year-old student was vaguely covered by the Mainstream Media (MSM) over the past week based on statements primarily from the police and school.
The Chinese evening papers, Shin Min Daily managed to report the case as accurate as it could from the limited statement from the authorities, however the rest somehow got a few details wrong or presented it in a misleading manner.
Here, we would like to assist the family in clarifying the details in the case from some of the papers.
Timing of the police’s contact with Benjamin
The newspaper regurgitated the timing given by the police that it had custody of Benjamin. The police said that Benjamin was taken to the Ang Mo Kio Police Division at around 11.30am.
The school confirms that the police officers came during recess period to speak with Benjamin. According to the school’s timetable, the recess time for Secondary 3 students is 10:45 am – 11:15 am.
The school counsellor shared that Benjamin had just purchased a bun and drink and was asked to go to the office for the meeting with the police. It is also noted that Benjamin was not given the time to consume his drink and bun until just before he left with the police officers.
The mother has already since said that by the time she arrived at the school from the call of the police, the police has already taken Benjamin to the police station, which was before 11 am.
This would make sense if Benjamin was immediately called to the principal office soon after the recess started when he got his food, police used his phone to call the mother and immediately leave for the police station after Benjamin had consumed his food. So when the mother arrived at the school, Benjamin was already gone with the officers to the police station.
School camp was held in Malaysia
The New Paper (TNP) reported that the school camp that Benjamin was supposed to attend is located in Malaysia. However, it is not the case. The school camp was to be held in the Ministry of Education (MOE) Labrador Camp Site as shown in the school letter to parents.
School counsellor called mother at 3 pm and mother agreed
TNP also reported that the school counsellor called at 3 pm and that the mother agreed that Benjamin should not attend the camp.
The family shared that the mother was saddened when she was told of this. According to the mother, the school merely informed of the school’s decision that Benjamin should not attend the camp and stay at home for E-learning.
The timing of the call is also wrong. Shin Min reported the exact time that the school counsellor called at 4.13pm to inform the mother of the school’s decision.
Claims against the mother emerge
In forums and on Facebook, individuals have started to speculate that it is possible that the mother might have unknowingly hurt Benjamin through her questioning.
We may never know if that is true and therefore, it would be disrespectful towards the mother and family to make such unfounded speculation.
According to the police’s statement, it released Benjamin at 2.50 pm. From the Ang Mo Kio Police Divisional Headquarters to Benjamin’s flat, it takes a minimum travelling time of 32 minutes. The mother said they took about 40 minutes to reach back home. So if considering the time needed to finish the paperwork, the family got back home close to 4 pm.
What we do know for certain is that the school’s call to the mother is made on 4.13pm and the time of Benjamin’s death was documented at 4.20pm.