'Cardboard auntie' death an unfortunate traffic misadventure: Coroner

Accident that killed 'cardboard auntie' an unfortunate traffic misadventure, says coroner

DRAGGED: The bus driven by Mr Oh Chin Chai at the scene of the accident at Marsiling Lane. The body tent was set up on the left side of the bus, but Madam Ching Guan Eng's body was extricated from the rear right tyre of the bus.

If she had been just a little slower or a little faster, the elderly cardboard collector might have avoided the accident that killed her that fateful day at Marsiling Lane.

Faced with a private bus that was parked by the side of the road ahead of her, Madam Ching Guan Eng, 86, pushed her trolley around it.

Unfortunately, she entered a blind spot at the front right side of the bus - just as the driver started it and drove off, after checking his mirrors.

The bus ran over Madam Ching and dragged her for a short distance.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

THE NEW PAPER, NOV 13, 2014

These details emerged yesterday during the coroner's inquiry into Madam Ching's death.

State Coroner Marvin Bay ruled out foul play in his findings and said the incident on Nov 12, 2014, was "an unfortunate traffic misadventure".

At about 8am that day, Mr Oh Chin Chai, 59, who had been driving for the bus company for a year, had just finished two assignments, the inquiry heard.

He parked by the side of Marsiling Lane and went to the market near Block 18 to buy a rubber mat for the bus.

Madam Ching was then pushing her trolley loaded with cardboard and other recyclable materials along the extreme left lane of Marsiling Lane.

It is believed that she was walking past the right side of the bus when Mr Oh returned and sat in the driver's seat.

CHECKED MIRRORS

TNP GRAPHICS: TEOH YI CHIE

Mr Oh told the authorities that he checked the side mirrors as well as his blind-spot mirror before moving off.

But unknown to him, Madam Ching was in his blind spot at the front right side of the bus, when he drove off and ran over her.

Singapore Civil Defence Force officers later extricated her from the rear right tyre of the bus. They also found her trolley under the bus.

Mr Bay said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) was engaged to conduct an examination of the bus to determine the fields of view and blind spots.

The HSA report said that if Madam Ching, who was travelling from the driver's right to his left, was between 44cm and 93cm from the front of the bus, it was unlikely that the driver would have been able to see her.

Mr Bay pointed out that Madam Ching stood at a mere 1.47m and would have been even more inconspicuous as she would have been bending over while pushing her trolley.

An eyewitness, Mr Ramlee Sahat, 61, was cycling on the pavement on the other side of the road when he heard a woman scream.

Mr Ramlee said he was shocked as the bus continued moving after colliding with Madam Ching.

He rushed over and saw that she was still breathing when she was underneath the bus, near the rear axle.

Mr Bay said Madam Ching suffered severe head injuries, fractures to her right leg, a dislocated knee and abrasions all over her body - injuries consistent with a road traffic accident.

Mr Oh was earlier charged with negligence causing death, and was granted a discharge not amounting to acquittal.

After the hearing, Mr Oh's counsel, Mr Kalidass Murugaiyan, told The New Paper that he would be applying for the charge to be dropped.

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Ms Christina Heng (above )
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Man cheated couples of money by posing as police officer

Kwek Jian Zong pleaded guilty to one count of electronically transmitting an obscene object and one count of accessing his ex-girlfriend's Facebook account without permission.

Impersonating a police officer, Selvam Pandiarajan targeted fellow foreigners for money.

One way was to look out for couples behaving intimately in parks.

After taking pictures of them, the Indian national, who worked as a construction worker here, would show them a fake police pass, threaten to report them to their employers and extort money from them.

Between January 2014 and October last year, he took at least $2,560 from 16 victims.

The law finally caught up with him after a victim made a police report.

Yesterday, Selvam, 27, was jailed for two years.

Court papers showed he hatched his plan to scam victims - particularly couples - in 2013. His hunting ground was a park near Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8.

On Christmas Day in 2014, he approached a couple who were behaving intimately. He showed them a fake police pass with a logo and claimed to be a police officer.

Selvam claimed the couple were allowed to hug and kiss, but the man was not allowed to touch his girlfriend's breasts in public.

He took photos of their work permits and claimed he would take them to the police station unless they handed him $300.

Selvam used a similar modus operandi on at least five other couples. (See below)

In January 2015, he photographed a couple kissing at the park then confronted them.

He claimed they should not be kissing in public and he made each of them hand over $300.

He also cheated two other foreign nationals.

Selvam lied to one man that he had committed an offence by smoking in the park.

To the other, Selvam claimed he had committed a crime by staying out late at night.

Selvam was arrested in October.

He had spent all the money on his daily expenses.

Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to eight counts of cheating by impersonation, with 17 other charges taken into consideration.

Lies, lies, lies...

VICTIM #1

WHEN: Oct 19, 2014

LIE: Selvam Pandiarajan claimed that the victim was not to stay out late at night as residents had complained about couples loitering in the area.

AMOUNT EXTORTED: $130 




VICTIMS #2 AND #3

WHEN: Dec 25, 2014

LIE: Selvam told the man that he was not allowed to touch his girlfriend's breasts in public.

AMOUNT EXTORTED: $300



VICTIM #4

WHEN: Dec 25, 2014

LIE: Selvam told the victim he could be fined for smoking in the park.

AMOUNT EXTORTED: $50



VICTIMS #5 AND #6

WHEN: Jan 25, 2015

LIE: Selvam told the couple that they should not be kissing in public.

AMOUNT EXTORTED: $600



VICTIMS #7 AND #8

WHEN: Sept 20, 2015

LIE: Selvam told the couple that they were not supposed to be at the park after 7pm.

AMOUNT EXTORTED: $500

Celebrities dish their dating nightmares

Cheryl Miles

There can be a lot of pressure to impress when you go on a date - especially if it is on Valentine's Day.

Here are some tips and anecdotes of dates-they'd-rather-not-remember from celebrities.

 

FOCUS ON YOUR DATE, NOT YOUR PHONE

Actress and host Jade Seah said mobile distractions are a turnoff during a date.

Seah recalled a second date with a man who could not tear his eyes from his device.

"He was constantly on his phone and hardly looked up at me or spoke to me."

Actress Jade Seah

Instead of letting herself become a third wheel to her date and his phone, she called him out on it.

"I told him, 'If you are busy, maybe we can meet up another day. After all, I am busy too, and I am here to spend time with you.'"

Her date quickly took the hint and put aside his phone.

If your date does spend a lot of time on his phone, take Seah's advice and don't suffer in silence. It is rude behaviour, date or not.


DON'T FAIL WITH 
THE BILL

ONE FM DJ Jill Lim ended up having to pay for a date, who was a virtual stranger, on Valentine's Day eight years ago.

She said: "My original date stood me up to go out with my cousin. So I crashed my friend's date with his girlfriend.

"To not let things get too awkward, he invited along a guy to make it a double date - and he simply assumed that I would pay for him (the guy)."

DJ Jill Lim

It may come as a surprise that Lim did pay for her date's meal, but it is no surprise that there was no second date.

Fellow ONE FM DJ Cheryl Miles said she would prefer if the man picks up the bill - at least for the first date.

"It is just my very old-fashioned thinking," she said.

Miles admits that not every girl shares her view.

She said: "Even if he does not pay for the date, I absolutely hate it if he is very calculative when splitting the bill.

"I have gone on dates where they meticulously calculated how much I ordered.

"That is a big turnoff," said Miles.


KEEP YOUR EGO 
IN CHECK

Do not talk too much about yourself. Actress Nadiah M Din believes it is a deal breaker.

"The worst thing that someone can do on a date is talk too much about their past dates or how proud they are of themselves."

Unfortunately for her, she has had to endure dates who were incredibly self-centred.

"I went out once with a model, who was admittedly cute, but he was obsessed with himself. It felt like he thought he was George Clooney and the other guys around him were William Hung," she said, of the American Idol reject.

Actress Nadiah M Din

"He was so vain that he kept checking himself out in the mirror or any reflective surface he saw."

The model's vanity went even further.

"He kept asking me if he was really cute - even though he knew he was good looking."

Nadiah added: "Yet, he pretended to be insecure just so that I would keep telling him, 'Yes, you are really super good looking.'"

ONE FM DJ Jill Lim has also suffered dates boasting of how much they earned.

She said: "They like to show off that a $200 steak is nothing to them because of how much they earn. That is a deal breaker."


HONESTY IS THE 
BEST POLICY

Especially if you are not feeling well during the date.

That was what DJ Mike Kasem learnt after his "worst date ever". It was 18 years ago with a singer he had interviewed for MTV Select. They made plans to meet up when he visited Los Angeles.

Kasem said: "I was down with a cold, but I couldn't cancel as I was in town only for a short time. I decided to power through it, with the help of Tylenol."

But he didn't realise he had taken Tylenol PM - a painkiller to be taken at night and which tends to make one very drowsy.

DJ Mike Kasem

"During dinner, my eyes started closing."

Making it worse, Kasem tried different types of alcohol to wake him up - which was the wrong thing to do.

"She asked if I wanted to call it a night as I looked like I was tired and bored," said Kasem. "Instead of being honest, we continued on to a nightclub - one that had many celebrities around."

Soon after, his stomach did not feel too good and he started to perspire profusely. The pills and booze combination meant Kasem ended up making five trips to the bathroom.


DON'T COME ON TOO STRONG

One of Cheryl Miles' worst dates was one that did not happen.

Her potential beau texted her just before they were to meet to say that his credit card was not working.

She suggested rescheduling.

His reply?

Let's do something that doesn't require any spending.

Miles said: "Reading between the lines, I could tell that he meant it in a sleazy way and expected me to go home with him. So I just didn't reply and blocked him on WhatsApp."


TELL US YOUR WORST DATE AND WIN RESTAURANT MEALS

Turn your nightmare date experience into something useful.

We have five three-course set lunches for two at Spathe Public House and five pairs of dining vouchers worth $100 from P.Bistro to give away.

Fill in the form below and tell us either your worst date experience or your best dating advice (if you've never been on a bad date before).

 

 

About the restaurants

P. Bistro

Palais Renaissance #B1-06

Even if the restaurant is located in Orchard Road, you are promised a quiet, intimate setting at P. Bistro. 

Resembling a Parisian bistro, this restaurant offers simple Asian-inspired Western fare and French classics.

You will be spoiled for choice there, but if you need help ordering, their signature dishes include the Nonya Dory Fish (below, left) and the Duck Confit.

recipe1

Spathe Public House

8 Muhammad Sultan Road #01-01

If you're looking for a great Instagrammable restaurant that happens to have great food, Spathe is your choice.

Spathe Public House is housed in a historic brick-and-timber shop house located in the River Valley neighbourhood.

If you're looking for something to excite your tastebuds, the food here draws inspiration from contemporary and Southern American cooking. Yes, that means bold flavours from the freshest ingredients.

The best part? They do not serve on individual plates. Spathe Public House features a fun, sharing menu. So this means you can have a sample of more dishes without worrying whether it's okay to try your date's food. 

Man jailed for $1.8m property scam

Sim Tee Peng (above), 39,

A salesman who posed as a lawyer to cheat 21 victims out of nearly $1.8 million was yesterday sent to jail for seven years and two months.

Sim Tee Peng, 39, had pleaded guilty to 23 charges, including cheating, theft, forgery and giving false information. Another 41 charges were taken into consideration. He got another 12 weeks' jail on three charges of counterfeiting stamp duty certificates in property transactions.

Sim collected stamp duty payments and other conveyancing-related fees from property buyers, supposedly on behalf of four law firms.

Between June 2011 and September 2012, he collected between $17,088 and $312,000 from each victim.

Sim had worked as paralegal and had about four years of conveyancing experience, but he was never formally employed by the law firms and did not have a valid practising certificate.

He would tell the property buyers to deposit the money into his personal bank account or his company's.

Sim was the director of general wholesale company WW Hub.

He would present fake documents, such as false invoices using a law firm's letterhead or copies of unissued personal cheques. He even forged stamp certificates to dupe a law firm into reimbursing him.

Sim used the money he amassed to fund his personal expenses, such as buying a BMW 5 Series car, which he had also driven with an expired vehicle licence number.

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