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Entrance of State court (Photo - Terry Xu).

SAF officer charged in Court over death of NSF Dave Lee

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officer Captain Tan Baoshu, 30, was charged in Court on Wednesday for the death of full-time National Serviceman (NSF) Dave Lee.

Corporal First Class Lee had succumbed to heat injuries sustained after an 8km fast march at the Bedok Camp on April 18. CFC Lee spent more than a week in intensive care at Changi General Hospital before succumbing to his injuries on 30th April.

His commanding officer in the 1st Guards Battalion, CPT Tan had allegedly supervised the fast march on April 18th but failed to evacuate CFC Lee in a timely manner after noticing heat injuries in his subordinate. CPT Tan also allegedly did not allow the administration of necessary treatment to CPC Lee, which led to his death.

In court on Wednesday, CPT did not take a plea and was offered agency bail of S410,000. If convicted on an offence of rash act causing death, he could be jailed for up to five years, fined, or both.

CPT Tan is not the only one facing punishment for rash act. The Ministry of Defence said in a statement that six other SAF servicemen who were involved in the incident were referred to them by the police. MINDEF plans to conduct it’s internal proceedings on these six servicemen upon the conclusion of CPT Tan’s criminal proceedings to prevent possible prejudice that might arise from parallel proceedings.

MINDEF noted that if the six servicemen are found guilty of committing military offences, they could face punishment under the SAF Act ranging from a fine to detention, demotion, or administrative penalties.

In light of this tragedy, a Committee of Inquiry (COI) was convened to look into this training death. Their preliminary assessment found that CFC Lee was already accumulated fatigue and insufficient rest in the days leading up to the fast march on 18th April. This in combination with the inadequate on-site measures after the march were the reason why he succumbed to heat injuries. The COI did also note that they did not find any evidence of foul play or systemic lapses.