Singapore

8 coroner cases reopened over alleged forgery by police officer

Eight coroner's inquiries that were earlier concluded have been reopened over allegations that the investigation officer (IO) who handled the cases had forged statements from people, including family members of the dead.

The court heard yesterday that the cases involved the officer, Station Inspector Kenny Cheong Chyuan Lih, whose alleged offences came to light following investigations by the Internal Affairs Office of the Singapore Police Force.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times yesterday, the police said he has been "interdicted" (a technical term for suspended) since Dec 27, 2018.

All of the affected inquiries were earlier handled by then State Coroner Marvin Bay, and he had to look into the cases again.

The six cases heard yesterday involved fatal traffic accidents. The inquiries into these cases had initially taken place between 2016 and 2018.

The police added in their statement: "After the rehearings of the six (cases, Coroner Bay) was satisfied that there was no miscarriage of justice."

One of the cases involved deliveryman Tan Kiah Huat, who was riding a motorcycle shortly before he was involved in a traffic accident on Dec 21, 2016. A man was driving a lorry in Jalan Bukit Merah towards Alexandra Road that day when he felt an impact on the rear of his vehicle. Mr Tan was later found lying on the road and the police were notified at 3.25pm.

The 62-year-old Singaporean was taken to hospital and he died of multiple injuries about an hour later.

The court heard that Station Insp Cheong later prepared a statement purportedly from Mr Tan's sister, who cannot speak or hear. In the statement, she supposedly said her brother was "behaving normally" before his death and that he had no suicidal tendencies.

It turned out that the statement had been fabricated.

A sign language interpreter later communicated with the woman and learnt that she could not recall being approached by Station Insp Cheong to give a statement.

Coroner Bay said: "Despite the fact of the conditioned statement of the next of kin being forged, (it concerned only) background information on Mr Tan's health and his absence of suicidal intent... I reconfirm my verdict of Mr Tan's demise from an unfortunate traffic misadventure."

The remaining two inquiries will take place today.

COURT & CRIME