Singapore

Hall residents: Climbing into locked rooms is common

NUS Hall residents admit students often break into rooms when they get locked out

She had just arrived in Singapore a few months ago and was supposed to spend the next four years studying business at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

But the 18-year-old South Korean tragically fell to her death last Saturday.

Yesterday, The New Paper reported that an NUS student fell to her death while trying to enter her seventh-storey residential hall room from a window after locking herself out.

The incident happened last Saturday in the eight-storey Block C of Sheares Hall, one of six residential halls in NUS.

TNP understands that the woman was Miss Jung Haelin, who had just started her term in NUS in August.

According to her LinkedIn page, Miss Jung was enrolled in the university's Bachelor of Business Administration programme. She spent three years at an international school in Kodaikanal, a town in the south of India, before coming here.

On her Facebook page, some of Miss Jung's friends left messages on Wednesday about how much they miss her.

NUS students at Sheares and Kent Ridge Hall told TNP that it is not uncommon for students to climb into a room through a window to help a resident who has been locked out, out of convenience or to avoid penalties.

According to them, NUS halls and their individual rooms are accessible by scanning their matriculation cards on the doors. Doors also automatically lock when shut, students said.

Students attempting to climb into their rooms tend to do so at night after the hall office has closed and it might be hard to find residential staff.

Some students said they have seen residents climb in during the day as well.

One former student - a Miss Lim who stayed in Sheares Hall between 2013 and 2014 - said it was an "open secret" that "taller and more muscular" male students would sometimes help locked-out residents get into their rooms.

A former resident of Kent Ridge Hall admitted that she has enlisted the help of male residents to climb into her sixth-storey room more than once. "They have done it many times, and I trust them," she said.

She added that first-year students tend to get locked out when they forget to take their card with them. Both halls are single-occupancy, according to NUS' website.

An NUS spokesman said campus residents who are locked out may be charged $10 for opening a locked room on a "case-by-case basis", such as when a student forgets his or her card repeatedly.

According to the NUS Student Service Centre website, replacement cards cost between $30 and $200, and can be collected in five days.

He said: "Students in campus residences are all briefed when they first arrive that they may approach residential staff for assistance to re-enter their rooms if they get locked out."

The spokesman added that it is "not a common practice" for students to climb into their rooms via windows at Sheares Hall.

Parkour coach Fagan Cheong, 30, said that climbing to reach the room of one's window from a height puts a person without any training in "a dangerous situation" and should not be done. Even professionals, he added, would think twice.

Director of parkour academy A2 Movements, Mr Tan Chi Ying, 31, said: "Doing such a thing is dangerous because of the risk involved."

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