Family of 14-year-old who committed suicide after police interrogation plans to sue Government bodies

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The family of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim are raising funds to launch a lawsuit against two government bodies to seek justice for his death.

Lim reportedly committed suicide on 26 Jan 2016 after returning home from the police station where he was investigated for deliberately touching an 11-year-old girl in a lift. The boy was subsequently arrested when he allegedly admitted to the offence and released on bail on the same day.

An hour after his release, the boy fell to his death after his mother received a call from his school that he would not be permitted to attend a school camp he had been planning to go to.

While a coroner’s inquiry in August last year concluded that there were no evidence of anything that was not in accordance with police or school processes, the case raised questions over how minors are questioned by police.

Lim’s family now seek to take legal action against the government since they feel that what happened to their son could well happen to any other boy or family and they wish to ensure that “other Singaporean children are better protected.” They told reporters:

“Our son Benjamin was 14 years old when he died, today he would be 16. Every birthday, every CNY, every family gathering we grieve his absence which is accompanied by a prescient fact that this could happen again today to another set of parents; another family could feel the tragic loss of their child due to our authorities choosing not to learn from Benjamin’s death, and use the lessons learned to progress their systems and protect vulnerable children of Singapore.”

The family added that they wish to ensure that their son’s death was not in vain, but declined to answer what exactly they are suing the authorities for or what outcome – such as cash compensation or policy changes – they are expecting in taking legal action. The only said:

“We feel as parents that the circumstances of the death of our son were not adequately handled or settled by the authorities involved. The outcome we received in no way protects the children of Singapore and we hope that legal action can create the changes needed to protect all our young people in the future.”

Noting that they are “not a wealthy family” but have spent “thousands” of dollars in getting the campaign to the stage it is in now, the family is hoping to gain public support for the legal case which is apparently likely to cost about S$200,000, according to their lawyers:

“Litigation in Singapore is very expensive but has the potential to bring about real change for our future generations.”

The family mounted a Give.asia campaign to raise funds, with the help of social activist Terry Xu. However, Give.asia has since taken down the campaign “with no reasons given,” according to Xu.

The family is now hoping to raise funds via direct bank transfers.

88 COMMENTS

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    Sometimes griefing has to end. The living has to go on and get on with their own lives and make their own lives even better. That is what I am sure those who left us wants us to do. They do not want to see us suffering like that.

    Be strong. Eventually we will meet our departed love ones too.

    No one said it was easy but for your family you have to be strong to move on.

    Take care.

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      That is why if we care we should try and help them move on.

      We should leave political agendas out.

      I am not sure the legal challenge will bring them any closer to move on. Top often they have to relive the tragic event all over again in the courts.

      If they win, they can at least get some closure to the event. But from past history the chances of winning anything against the State is very slim. If this is the verdict it would be horrible going through tragic event twice and not to forget cost including the long duration of the court case than can drag on for a few years and within this period they are constantly reminded.

      It is a very sad event and no parents should have to face that.

      We all wish we can turn back the clock I got the family But we can’t. The least we can do is to help them move forward with their lives as quickly as possible.

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    Just cannot help but wonder how those IOs and his school principal can sleep well in this past 2years after he has passed on ……..?
    He was just a kid in mid puberty age at the time of his alleged offence …….he must have been scared out of his wit when under police investigation !!!
    It is a real tragedy and something just not right there leading to his suicide !!!! RIP Ben and deepest sympathy to your love ones !!!

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    I still remember this story. Clearly SPF has indeed went beyond what minors can take. The school principle and the IO are happy with yearly bonuses and carry on with their lives. NO guilt there for sure. It is the transparency and making a minor know their rights was not presented and that fear may have been instilled to a 14 year old to take his life. For someone to reach to such junction is a result of fear and desperation a 14 year boy certainly doesn’t have that sort of peer pressure. The IO and the principle has to be punished to take accountability in the eyes of the public. Do parents stull have faith in SPF these days? Well in most cases yes but for this incident its a strict NO. Lets see where this goes for the public is still following up closely. After all its about transparency and accountability in both the principle and the IO. Lets gather funds for this family and appoint a senior council to let justice prevail

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    So sad that this has happened. We understand the grief and sadness of the parents where no amount of words could expressed. But the government will not be doing anything for sure. The principal n teacher should not let the police handle this case. They should talk to him and understand the root cause of the issue. The boy could have been forced to admin under duress.

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    For a healthy kid to end his helpless life this way, he must have gone through a lot of humiliation and embarrassment by the fake white angels who are all the hypocrites. They are all from the same system and it’s not worth to waste resources and precious times on this white gang. Hope the family can move on and vote them out in the next ge. This isn’t a harmonious society for our next generations, ppl are getting arrogant, inconsiderate and merciless, pap self-centered & selfish style. Where on earth u see millions dollars pm taking selfies everywhere he goes?

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    We sympathise with the bereaved family members. The State Coroner and persons involved had been examined and explained publicly already. It is easier to point finger at others but there are three fingers pointing at yourself at the same time. Let bygone be bygone in not fighting a lost cause unless of cause you have fresh evidence. No point in rehashing the same storyline that public already know. Not only it is painful emotionally but financially as well.

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    My deepest condolences to Ben’s parent. I know exactly how they might have felt to have lost a dearest child.

    I lost my elder son NSF Ganesh Pillai ( please google his name )who was pushed to suicide by his manpower officer.

    He was at remission to Schizophrenia and was not given exemption but was down graded to PES-E status and the army assured me that his condition would be taken care of.

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    These are unnecessary death that could be easily avoided.

    If these death resulted due to natural cause or even accident, one can accept it and move on.

    But these death are caused deliberately by some insensitive psychopath who prey on the weak and the vulnerable who has no voice to defended them self. Would they have done this if this were their own love ones?

    I am sure the boy as gone to a better place. How about the love once’s who are alive and who are facing the pain for the rest of their lives while the ones responsible can get away with this?

    So how can one move on when justice is not given to the love ones who are paying the price which something that they are not responsible for?

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    When I saw this story in the Facebook, I was very sad and sick that I could not sleep the whole night.
    It reminded me to a great extend of my own son NSF Pte Ganesh Pillay’s death.

    That night on 5th July 2013 at around 8pm after a grueling day at work, I had to rush back home after hearing from my wife’s distress call that the police were at our door step. I had to identify the twisted and the mingle body of my dearest elder son, covered in blood.

    Before NS, he worked very hard to acquire a diploma while going thru Schizophrenia, in digital animation.
    He aspire to be an animator and alway confided with me of his aspiration.

    After his death, I went into severe depression for a long time while my whole family were impacted by this tragedy.

    So I can imagine what Benjamin parent are going through right now and if any body think that one can move on from this, I suggest that they would think again.

    One have to be in Benjamin parent shoes in order to know how it feels like after bringing up child from infant, giving them love and affection just to see them die this way.

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    Do we need to activate the police for a child case? What then is the role of the school, principal & teachers? If these “seniors” acted mindfully and responsibly one child’s life could have been saved. I pray no more of our children have to suffer the incompetence of the adults who are supposed to protect them. No more life of our children are taken away for our insensitivity.