New details regarding the passing of CPL Kok, a result of SCDF ragging culture, have been revealed in court today, and it’s something that’s just as hard to digest as the NSF’s unnecessary demise.
This week, a trial against the commanders of CPL Kok’s rota unit, Lieutenant Kenneth Chong Chee Boon and First Senior Warrant Officer Nazhan, is ongoing. The two commanders have contested the charge each of causing grievous hurt to CPL Kok by a rash act for not stopping their men from putting him in the well.
In the last few days, it’s revealed that the group would have followed the commanders’ instructions of not pushing CPL Kok down the well if they had given specific instructions.
Today, a forensic pathologist, Dr George Paul, who was also the person who conduct the autopsy on CPL Kok’s body, provided evidence to the case.
CPL Kok Was Injured
While the official cause of death is due to drowning, new details pertaining to the condition of his body when he was dragged out of the well were revealed.
CPL Kok had large bruises on the back of his head, and smaller injuries on his arm, fingers, toes and ankle.
It’s, however, unknown if he had sustained these injuries when he fell into the wall and lost consciousness from the injuries, or these injuries occurred when he was dragged out of the well after he had drowned.
It could also be due to him struggling when he was drowning.
However, the head injury was most probably from an “impact”.
Lungs Have Plant Materials
Usually, in a drowning case, a person’s airway would be sealed by the body so that the water won’t enter the lungs, just like how we accidentally breathe in water. However, after the person went unconscious, the muscles in the airway would relax and water would enter the lungs.
In CPL Kok’s case, water has entered his lungs, but it’s not just clean water.
There was plant material in it, possibly remnants of leafy material or larger algae.
Dr Paul concluded, “Looking at all this, it is certainly not clean water and such water can have an irritant effect, which could compound respiratory distress.”
In other words, the dirty water might have played a little part drowning CPL Kok.
In addition, CPL Kok’s lack of ability to swim and the sudden push might also play a part.
Non-Swimmer & Sudden Push
According to Dr Paul, a person who knows how to swim would inhale before dropping into a pool, and exhale upon entry. Anyone who’s a swimmer would do these steps automatically.
However, a non-swimmer might not know about this. Dr Paul surmised, “In this case, he knows he is entering water. He’s pushed in. The first response is – ‘I need to inhale’.”
Which, of course, is the opposite of what one should do immediately.
In addition, as he was pushed into the well, he could have been caught by surprise and was in disorientation. That, according to Dr Paul, “could have a role … in compounding the fact that he never came up.”
Swimming Instructor Around: Can Help?
If you’ve remembered from our previous article, a swimming instructor was “on stand-by” lest the worst happen.
Dr Paul said, “If he (CPL Kok) is not going in willingly … I can only speculate how much having a swimming instructor around would help, but it’s not much.”
The person who pushed CPL Kok down, Staff Sergeant Muhammad Nur Fatwa Mahmood, has been charged and sentenced to a year and four weeks of imprisonment since last October.
The trial for the two commanders is still ongoing.
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