Aloysius Pang death case: 2 SAF servicemen face charges in military court

Aloysius Pang
Late actor Aloysius Pang Instagram/Aloysius Pang

A military court in Singapore on Wednesday pressed charges against two servicemen belonging to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for negligence and causing the death of actor Aloysius Pang, who died aged 28 in January 2019. These two SAF servicemen were in the cabin of Pang holding a howitzer artillery gun.

The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said the two SAF servicemen are Military Expert 2 (ME2) Ivan Teo and Third Sergeant (National Service) Hubert Wah, aged 31 and 35 respectively. Both the accused are currently out on bail with $5,000 paid as surety and their passports impounded.

However, the court has been adjourned for now and will resume in four weeks though the exact date is not fixed.

As per the court documents, Teo, who was a regular technician, faces charges which include disobedience of general orders under the SAF Act and causing death by negligent act under the Penal Code. The other accused, Wah is a gun commander, and faces one charge of causing death due to rash act under the Penal Code, besides causing death by negligent act.

It should be noted that in case of a serviceman convicted of disobedience of general orders, he could face an imprisonment of up to two years, while a person convicted of causing death by rash act may face a jail term of up to five years, a fine, or both.

On Wednesday morning, the MINDEF said in a statement that two servicemen would be charged at the Court Martial Centre in Kranji Camp II. During the hearing, the court came to know that both accused have applied for pro bono legal services.

The judiciary consisted of Lieutenant-Colonel Lim Keng Yeow, from the Manpower Division at MINDEF, who is a district judge under the Family Justice Courts and two panel members included Major Li Mei Fang from HQ Naval Diving Unit, and Major Ong Zi Jun from HQ Air Combat Command.

Aloysius Pang, who was an Armament Technician from the 268th Battalion Singapore Artillery had been taking part in Exercise Thunder Warrior at the Waiouru training area in New Zealand and was seriously injured during a military exercise on January 19.

He underwent three surgeries at Waikato Hospital and finally, doctors put him under artificial support for his lungs, kidneys and heart. Few days later, MINDEF announced, "Despite surgical attempts to repair damaged organs and putting him on artificial life support, CFC (NS) Pang succumbed to the injuries and passed away."

After his death, SAF's Special Investigation Branch (SIB) conducted the investigation and the Chief Military Prosecutor has decided to prosecute Teo and Wah based on the investigation findings of the SIB.

A Committee of Inquiry (COI) found that the tragic accident which led to Aloysius Pang's death was caused by lapses by the late CFC (NS) and two other servicemen. In May, the Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also mentioned in parliament that five members of the committee which interviewed over 20 people involved in the case, found no evidence which showed that the accident was caused by foul play or deliberate act.