4 Singapore commandos charged in death


SINGAPORE, AP

Four Singapore commandos have been charged over the death of a soldier after he was repeatedly dunked in a tub of water during a training exercise, a newspaper report said Wednesday.

The Aug. 21 incident has received extensive media coverage in the city-state, where all young men are conscripted to serve at least 18 months in the armed forces.

2nd Sgt. Hu Enhaui, a 19-year-old recruit, died after he was held under water by two instructors several times for up to twenty seconds, the report in The Straits Times said.

“We will deal with such issues openly and the law will take its course,” Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

In the same training exercise a second soldier, Capt. Ho Wan Huo, also was injured, it said.

The four men were named as Capt. Pandiaraj Mayandi, Lt. Ng Chin Fong, Lt. Divanandhari Ambat Chandrasekharan, and Warrant Officer S. Balakrishnan, the report said.

Each has been charged with causing 2nd Sgt. Hu’s death by a rash act, and causing grievous hurt to Capt. Ho in a rash act that endangered his life, it said.

No pleas from the four charged men were reported. A pretrial conference has been set for June 22, the report said.

The cause of Hu’s death “was asphyxia and near drowning,” Teo told Parliament last year.

At least 37 soldiers have died while undergoing training since 1994, according to figures from the Ministry of Defense.