Man who was restrained by members of the public for trying to snap upskirt pictures died of 'natural disease process': State Coroner

SINGAPORE – The death of a man who was restrained by members of the public near Little India MRT station last year was due to a “natural disease process”, said State Coroner Kamala Ponnampalam.

He had been chased and immobilised first by three men and then by two more, after he was spotted trying to take upskirt pictures of a woman.

In an inquiry into Mr Andrew Ho Chee Meng’s death, the state coroner added that following an autopsy, the 46-year-old Singaporean was found to have died from hypothyroid cardiomyopathy.

The Singapore General Hospital’s website states that cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle.

A Health Sciences Authority forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy said that Mr Ho had a history of hypothyroidism, which made the heart slow to recover from its contraction in time for the next one.

The doctor also felt that the stress of running while being chased and Mr Ho’s subsequent restraint contributed to his death.

Coroner Kamala said in her findings dated Sept 11 that public participation in crime prevention efforts is “necessary and ought to be encouraged”.

She added: “It may be prudent, however, to promote reporting to police or seeking police assistance as the preferred and safer option.”

She noted that the witnesses made no attempt to reposition Mr Ho or actively check that he was well even though he had vomited.

Video footage of the incident also showed that Mr Ho later stopped struggling and was lying motionless on the ground for about three minutes.

The witnesses, however, “either did not observe this or did not think that it was significant”, said the state coroner.

She said that Mr Ho’s unresponsive state was detected only after police officers arrived at the scene and one of them found that he did not have a pulse.

Coroner Kamala said: “The witnesses were obviously unaware of the medical risks associated with methods of restraint or the need to continually monitor as a means of mitigating that risk.

“That said, it is noted that the witnesses did not behave in an overly aggressive manner with Mr Andrew or use excessive force to restrain him.”

According to the findings, a man identified as Mr Ng Kim Tong was at the foot of an ascending escalator at Little India MRT station at around 12.40pm on Nov 1 last year when he spotted Mr Ho trying to snap upskirt pictures of a woman.

He chased after Mr Ho and two other men – Mr Nardozi Thierry and Mr Rudy Iskandar Khan Nasir Khan – later joined the pursuit.

The trio managed to detain Mr Ho at a pavement in nearby Niven Road and he was lying face down on the ground when they restrained him.

They held on to Mr Ho’s limbs and Mr Nardozi took away his mobile phone. The police were alerted and the device was later found to contain 47 upskirt photographs.

Two more men – Mr Leong Cheng Fong and Mr Racmat Hidayattullah Hasbullah – came forward soon after and helped to restrain Mr Ho.

Police arrived at the scene at 12.53pm and Mr Ho was found to be unresponsive when an officer tapped his shoulder.

Coroner Kamala said: “One of the men who had earlier restrained Mr Andrew remarked that Mr Andrew was putting on an act because the police were there.”

The policeman checked for a pulse but could not detect one.

Two officers then performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Mr Ho and paramedics arrived at 1.12pm.

He was pronounced dead three minutes later.

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