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Open carpark at Bedok North Street Block 123

Elderly cardboard collector killed by reversing taxi while looking for cardboard

Madam Poh Ah Gin, 78, succumbed to injuries after being hit by a reversing taxi while she was collecting cardboard behind a coffee shop at Block 123 of Bedok North Street 2 on Wednesday (30 March).

The accident happened in an open air car park behind the coffee shop, where a 64-year-old Comfort taxi driver abruptly reversed onto the kerb behind. In doing so, his car, a blue Hyundai Sonata, struck Madam Poh twice, causing her to fall facedown on the ground.

The commotion, loud banging and car alarms, caused by taxi, which had also hit and damaged two cars in front of it, attracted a crowd of onlookers at the scene, one of whom attempted to stop the moving taxi by opening the car door and removing the ignition key. This was unsuccessful as the taxi sped off again at a high speed. The taxi lurched back and forth numerous times.

A nearby clinic who had also realised the accident had two female doctors rush to attend to Madam Poh. A male bystander also assisted then in moving Madam Poh out of direct harm's way and in laying her on her back. She suffered bleeding from her knees and stomach from the car's impact.

One of the doctors then began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the other placed an oxygen mask on the woman.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was notified at 3.15 pm and an ambulance was immediately sent to the scene of the accident. Despite all attempts to resuscitate Madam Poh, she was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Madam Poh lived alone in a three room flat on the ninth storey of the block where the accident took place. She often collected cardboard around the neighbourhood to sell to earn extra money. Residents in the area say she was regularly seen around for the past 20 years.

According to The New Paper, Madam Poh's sister stated that Madam Poh insisted on collecting cardboard to sell despite not having financial problems. Madam Poh was the third of eleven children. A few of her siblings and relatives were seen speaking to police officers nearby after the incident.

After the taxi stopped moving, the driver was seen getting out of the vehicle, pale and visibly shaken. He informed his son over the phone at 4 pm of the accident, stating that something had gone wrong with the vehicle.

"My father told me that he was trying to park his cab when it surged backwards, mounted the kerb and hit the woman. He then switched gears and the cab rushed forward and hit the vehicles in front," the driver's son said.

He also expressed that his father was an experienced taxi driver for over 20 years who had not committed any traffic offences previously.

This fatal accident echoes another that had occurred just over one month prior, where a 61-year-old female cardboard collector, was killed in an accident at Collyer Quay near the OUE Link Bridge, where a BMW hit the lorry she was standing on. The impact had caused her to fall from the back of the lorry onto the bonnet of the BMW and she later died from the sustained injuries at the hospital.

Similarly to the arrest of the car driver at Collyer Quay, police have stated that that the taxi driver in yesterday's accident has been arrested for causing death by a negligent act. All affected vehicles at the scene, were towed away by 7 pm the day itself.