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Military CP - January 2009

Corpun file 21123


The Straits Times, Singapore, 20 January 2009

3 soldiers punished for assaulting colleague

19-year-old is still in hospital, six weeks after attack in Bedok camp

By Teh Joo Lin

THREE soldiers beat up a 19-year-old full-time national serviceman at their camp one evening, upset by what they felt was his poor work attitude.

Recruit Jagjeet Singh was slapped, kicked and hit with a helmet, umbrella and broomstick until he lay semi-conscious and vomiting.

Click to enlarge

Even after a medic advised them to send the injured youth to hospital immediately, two of the attackers merely loaded him onto a trolley, wheeled him to his bunk and dumped him on the floor.

Yesterday, the three assailants were sentenced by a military court for the beating on Dec 17, which was so severe that the victim is still in hospital, six weeks after the incident in Bedok Camp 2 at Upper East Coast Road.

All three pleaded guilty. The main culprit, Lance-Corporal Nur Hilman Kassim, 23, was jailed three years and ordered to be caned six times. He will serve time in a civilian prison. Corporal Muhammad Fahmi Ibrahim and Recruit Hong Zhi Sheng, both 22, were sent to the detention barracks for six and four months respectively.

During the hearing at the Singapore Armed Forces' Court-Martial Centre, the court heard that the three storemen had confronted their colleague at about 6.30pm on Dec 17, annoyed that his poor work attitude had landed them in trouble with their superiors.

The face-off was verbal at first, but it spiralled into violence when they became agitated by his blank stares and uninterested responses.

Nur Hilman hit the victim on the head, chest, shoulders and limbs with his hands, legs, a broomstick, an umbrella and a helmet. Hong and Muhammad Fahmi also slapped and punched him.

Hong left shortly after, while the victim was still conscious.

The other two finally called a medic at about 9pm. Recruit Jagjeet Singh was lying face-up on the floor of the office, semi-conscious and breathing heavily.

Later, they moved him to the bunk but left him on the floor because he was apparently too heavy to be lifted.

Help finally arrived only at 11pm, two hours later, when a campmate found him on the floor. At the intensive care unit in Changi General Hospital, doctors discovered bleeding in the right side of his brain. The recruit is now in a general ward.

Pleading for leniency, defending officer Ivan Gan told the court that all three men had no prior disciplinary problems and initially meant only to scold a colleague who could not be relied upon to carry out his duties.

But military prosecutor Samantha Lau argued that there was no reason for them to take matters into their own hands. Instead, they should have reported the recruit's behaviour to their superiors for disciplinary action.

She urged the court to impose a deterrent sentence -- especially on Nur Hilman -- because "gangsterism" could not be condoned.

Presiding judge Lieutenant-Colonel (NS) Aedit Abdullah, who was a district judge in the civilian courts, agreed.

Soldiers who had frustrations with their colleagues should go through the proper channels, he said.

"(They) cannot take into their own hands remedial actions, and certainly cannot vent their frustration against their colleagues," he added.

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