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School CP - April 2006

Corpun file 17580

Straits Times, Singapore, 14 April 2006

Soccer friendly turns violent

Schoolboy punched, jaw fractured

Puncher caned by school, counselled by victim's parents say it was not enough

By Jessica Lim and Tracy Sua
Additional reporting by Feng Zeng Yan


IT WAS supposed to be a friendly soccer match, but it ended up as a violent one.

THE DAMAGE: Victoria School's Lim Jun Liang, 16, had a crack on his right cheek, a fractured jaw and a titanium plate implanted to support the jaw. After surgery, he had to spend at least 10 days on a liquid diet as he was not able to open his mouth fully.

Lim Jun Liang, 16, of Victoria School, had his jaw broken by Syed Nabil Syed Hamid, 17, of Siglap Secondary on Dec 23.

The Siglap Secondary player punched Jun Liang after being brought down by a sliding tackle.

For his act, Nabil was publicly caned by his school authorities and suspended from playing against Victoria.

But Jun Liang's parents complained to the Education Ministry as they felt Nabil was not adequately punished.

They felt that he should have been suspended from all games for a certain period.

With the score tied at 4-4 and only five minutes left, Victoria and Siglap Secondary were desperate for the winning goal.

Then, as Nabil bore down on the goal, Jun Liang tripped him with a sliding tackle.

The referee expectedly awarded a penalty to Siglap Secondary, but no one expected Nabil to punch his opponent.

Jun Liang recounted: 'It happened so fast. I heard the whistle and turned to look at the referee. But when I turned back to look at Nabil, he was already up and I was struck.'

Before Jun Liang was rushed to hospital, Nabil apologised.

Jun Liang claimed he suffered a fractured jaw and a hairline crack on his right cheek. He also had a titanium plate implanted to support his jaw.


Meanwhile, Nabil was publicly given two strokes of the cane in January and sent for counselling and an anger-management course. He was not allowed to play against Victoria School.

Jun Liang's father, delivery driver Lim Tong Siong, 47, said Siglap's teachers did not even visit his son at the hospital.

He said the teachers only met him and his family on Jan 17 together with Nabil and his parents, who apologised to them.


Henry Tan, assistant director of CCA sports at the Education Ministry, felt the punishment was appropriate.

The Education Ministry said it was an isolated incident as schools-sports violence is rare. Over the past two years, there have only been three cases of violence in inter-school matches.


Despite what is being said about the incident, the two students involved are trying to come to terms with what happened.

Said Nabil: 'I regret what I did. I do not know why I punched him.'

Jun Liang said: 'I don't hate him, because I know how it can be like in a game when emotions run high and suddenly you do something you can't take back.'

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