Singapore

Missing for 23 years, but CPF transactions go on

Central Provident Fund payments and other assistance have been going to a man who has been missing for 23 years because he has yet to be officially declared dead.

Mr Boo Meng Hock has received a total of about $15,000 in cash and CPF top-ups, which have offset MediShield Life premium deductions of about $7,300, the CPF Board said on Wednesday last week.

It has continued the payments because Mr Boo has not been registered as dead with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). Until then, he is presumed to be alive and eligible for certain benefits - and liable for certain deductions.

The board's clarifications came in response to a Facebook post by Mr Boo's daughter Emily Boo, known on Facebook as Yukimi Wu.

On Aug 5, Ms Boo posted a photo of a police report made in 1996 about her father's disappearance. He was in his 50s.

She said the CPF Board has been deducting money annually from her father's account for MediShield, but the family cannot stop this as they do not have a death certificate.

"We suspected he has been murdered, but his body hasn't been found. There is no proper burial for him."

Although missing people are usually presumed dead if they have not been heard from for seven years, a court order is needed to obtain a presumption of death certificate.

Ms Boo said her family did not apply for this as the legal fees were too high. The CPF Board has urged her to obtain the court order and submit it to the ICA.

When a Singaporean or permanent resident's death is registered with the ICA, the CPF Board will be notified and CPF savings are then distributed to the person's nominees or sent to the Public Trustee to distribute.

Those who need financial assistance can approach the Legal Aid Bureau, said the board.

It also said neither Ms Boo nor other family members have approached it for help on the premium deductions. Funds Mr Boo got include Pioneer Generation, goods and services tax (GST) voucher and other government MediSave top-ups amounting to $7,000, as well as GST vouchers and SG Bonus in cash totalling $4,600, it said.

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