Mum throws baby off 18th storey

SITE: Police cordoned off the area where the body was found.
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He preys on praying man

Man gets 16 years' jail, caning for fatal attack on retiree

Sumanthiran Selvarajoo
TRAGIC: (Above) Police officers and undertakers moving the body of Mr Loo Nam Sheng to a police van from Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West in June 2011.
TRAGIC: Police officers and undertakers moving the body of Mr Loo Nam Sheng (above) to a police van from Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West in June 2011.
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HE WAS A TEEN TERROR

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Former coach: Sporting talents could have led him to podium

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Woman, 69, fined and disqualified from driving after killing pedestrian

Woman, 69, mistakenly steps on accelerator, kills pedestrian in carpark

FATAL: A 65-year-old woman was killed when a car driven by a 69-year-old woman crashed into her at a carpark in Bukit Panjang.

She was parking her car when she accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake.

Her car shot forward and knocked down a 65-year-old pedestrian, killing her.

On Monday, Tan Peng Sim, 69, was fined $8,000 and disqualified from driving for eight years.

At about 8am on Aug 26 last year, Tan drove her son's Mazda 3 and dropped her grandson off at a nearby childcare centre, court papers said.

She then drove to Bukit Panjang Community Club before driving home.

She reached the open-space carpark near her home at Block 203, Petir Road, at about 10.50am and reverse-parked her car, before driving the car out again as it was not parked properly.

That was when she spotted Madam Leong Wai Eng, who was pushing a market trolley loaded with groceries, walking from the left to the right of the car.

THE NEW PAPER, AUG 27, 2015

BRAKE

Tan wanted to allow Madam Leong, who was about 5.6m from the front of her car, to cross safely.

She wanted to step on the brake but mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead.

Her car crashed into Madam Leong, who was flung backwards towards the car's rear.

The car then mounted the kerb and crashed through a railing before going partially down a slope.

Madam Leong was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic at about 11am.

The autopsy report showed she died from multiple injuries, including skull and rib fractures.

Court papers also said the car did not have any inherent mechanical defects that could have led to the accident.

On Monday, Tan pleaded guilty to one count of committing a negligent act that caused Madam Leong's death not amounting to culpable homicide.

She could have been jailed for up to two years.

NO: Potential flash points for disputes

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Okay for volunteers to fine offenders?

The National Environment Agency (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill passed yesterday gives individuals such as community volunteers the powers an NEA officer has when it comes to environmental offences. But the bill was passed only after a lively debate. FOO JIE YING (fjieying@sph.com.sg) reports on both sides of the argument

CONTRIBUTING: Volunteers picking up litter at East Coast Park.

YES: Everyone has active part to play

YES, community volunteers should be given enforcement powers.

Everyone needs to play an active role in keeping Singapore clean.

By expanding the Community Volunteer (CV) programme, passionate individuals can take greater ownership of our environment, and better complement the National Environment Agency's (NEA) enforcement efforts, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.

When the CV programme was launched in 2013, volunteers, made up of civic group members, had the power only to ask offenders to pick up and bin their rubbish.

If they refuse, volunteers can only take down their particulars.

Now, a passionate individual who is not from any civic group can join the programme. They can fine litterbugs on the spot. (See report above.)

As someone in a non-governmental organisation for the past 15 years, first-time MP Louis Ng welcomed the move.

"This empowerment of volunteers is something that will be welcome, especially by the animal welfare groups," said Mr Ng, who founded the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society.

"It's also for the community to play a part rather than for the Government to do everything," he added.

NOT NEW CONCEPT

The concept of empowering civilians is not new, said Nee Soon MP Lee Bee Wah as she cited Mumbai and Britain as examples.

As a ground-up initiative, it will help foster social norms, said Ms Lee, who runs a monthly litter-picking programme in her ward.

"I hope it will remind would-be litterbugs that there are eyes around them. There are people who love, who care for the environment watching them all the time," she said.

Ang Mo Kio MP Gan Thiam Poh agreed: "With more eyes and ears on the ground, we are taking a step in the right direction to eradicate littering."

WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME?

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BY THE NUMBERS

7,196 The total number of young persons required to assist the police between 2011 and 2015. Out of these...

70% Were placed on guidance programmes or had no further action taken against them.

15% Were charged.

15% Are still under consideration.

88% The estimated number of youth offenders referred to guidance programmes since 2007.

1,350 The average number of student arrests in a year

600 Percentage of youths who completed their guidance programmes in 2009 and remained crime-free for at least three years.

Shanmugam explains why police had to act swiftly in Benjamin Lim case

In Parliament yesterday, two ministers answered a barrage of questions from MPs on the case of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim, who was found dead after he was questioned by police over the alleged molest of an 11-year-old girl. They explained the rationale behind the police's and school's actions

INTERVIEW: The open plan office at an Ang Mo Kio police station where an investigation officer interviewed Benjamin Lim. The officer sat at his desk (middle), while Benjamin sat on the stool. Another investigation officer, who is unrelated to the case, sat at the desk on the left.

When police realised from closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage that the alleged molester of an 11-year-old girl was from North View Secondary School, they acted swiftly.

They went to the school to find out the identity of the boy, who had allegedly molested the girl at an HDB lift the day before.

Should the police have waited until Benjamin Lim, 14, had gone home first?

No, explained Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam in Parliament yesterday.

"We need to be clear about how we expect the police to investigate in general," he said.

"If the police wait, and he molests someone else in the meantime, then the question would be why the police did not move faster."

The police did not know that it was Benjamin in the CCTV footage when they first went to the school.

THE NEW PAPER, FEB 29

HISTORY

Neither did they know if he had a history of offences then.

Said Mr Shanmugam: "An accused person could well have engaged in other molest, (which) until then no one might have reported.

"As a general rule, I'm sure we want the police to move quickly... What do you think (the) public's attitudes will be if it was a victim who had committed suicide?"

Mr Shanmugam and Acting Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, spoke for about two hours on the case yesterday in Parliament. They answered eight parliamentary questions and clarifications from 13 MPs.

At their respective minister's requests, both ministries had refrained from commenting in detail on the case previously, so as not to prejudice a coroner's inquiry into the death.

But speculation and falsehoods that followed the case had prompted the ministries to provide more information, said Mr Shanmugam.

He asked the House to imagine what would have happened if Benjamin had not taken his life.

In seven out of 10 cases, youths would only be warned, placed on a guidance programme or have no action taken against them, he said.

"Where possible, the police try to avoid criminalising the conduct," he said.

"It is likely that on the evidence available to us, Benjamin would have received no more than a warning."

While five police officers had visited the school, he stressed that they were in plainclothes and arrived in unmarked cars.

Of the five officers, three were there "to link up" the school with the other two police officers from Ang Mo Kio Division, who were there to investigate, he said.

Only one officer spoke to Benjamin about the alleged crime.

PERSPECTIVE

Said Mr Shanmugam: "We should look at the facts and in this case, what did the boy see? He saw one officer at first, and then three brought him back to the station.. and he was interviewed by one officer at the station."

Sketches and photographs of the open plan office in an Ang Mo Kio police station, where Benjamin was interviewed, were handed out to MPs.

There is nothing to suggest that Benjamin was mistreated by the police, based on the facts so far, said Mr Shanmugam.

But why did the school not send anyone to accompany Benjamin to the police station?

This is because even if someone went, there would have been no contact between the staff member and the boy, explained Mr Ng.

Mr Ng said it is not police practice "to allow teachers or school staff to be with the student in the police car".

During a police interview, school staff are not be allowed to be present under current protocols.

Said Mr Ng: "At end of the interview, (the police will) hand over the student to the direct care of parents."

He also addressed why a school counsellor called Benjamin's mother to advise her that the teen "remain with the family during this difficult period".

That meant he would not be able to attend a school camp the next day.

Said the minister: "It is not unreasonable to call and check on how Benjamin was doing. The decision (to not attend the camp) was discussed and mutually agreed upon with his mother.

"It is a very tragic incident, but we really do not know what was the trigger for Benjamin."

As a general rule, I'm sure we want the police to move quickly... What do you think (the) public's attitudes will be if it was a victim who had committed suicide?

- Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam

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