The family of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim, who was found dead at the foot of his block on Jan. 26, 2016, has written an open letter to the public to clarify the events that transpired that fateful day.
The letter, written by Benjamin’s father, was published on Thursday, Feb. 4, to “provide certain information on the chain of events leading to the tragedy”, where his son allegedly jumped from the family's 14th-storey Yishun flat after the teen was questioned by the police that day.
The letter comes after police said on Monday, Feb. 1, that they would be reviewing interview procedures of minors.
The letter read: “There have been reports in various publications offering different versions of occurrences leading to the passing of Benjamin.”
It revealed that Benjamin did not have the chance to finish eating.
As Benjamin’s father, it broke my heart when I later found out that my son was brought to the principle’s office with one bun on his hand; and a drink on the other from the school canteen.
I cannot understand why the teacher; or office staff did not allow my son to at least finish his food at the canteen before s/he brought him to the principle’s office. It was reported that my son was allowed to finish his breakfast before being taken to the police station. But that was after the interview. My boy had his last meal in the school, a cold bun.
When Benjamin finally left the police station at 2.50pm, he told his mother and sister that he was not given anything to eat, nothing to drink throughout the 3 or more hours of engagement with police investigators in the police station. At his age, my son gets hungry very fast after one meal. Just a cold bun and a drink, and we cannot be sure if he did finish the bun because he was under pressure then. Benjamin must be feeling hungry, thirsty, throughout the few hours he was with the police investigator. I can imagine the anxiety felt by my son throughout the ordeal.
Benjamin allegedly then jumped to his death at around 4.20pm.
Portions of the letter detailed the anguish the family felt and they had harsh words for the school and the police:
As Benjamin’s father, it is now my duty to seek justice for my son. We do not know if he has indeed committed the alleged offence of “outrage of modesty” of the 11-year-old girl. Until the coroner hearing, we do not want to speculate whether the offence has indeed taken place.
That said, as parents we cannot forget and we cannot forgive the way my son was treated, from the school to the time he was in police custody. I have this to say to the school authorities. We as parents we entrusted our children to you. You have a duty to ensure that our children are appropriately taken care of, reasonably protected and have their interest in your priority.
To the police, I have to tell you that by sending 5 plainclothes officers to one secondary school in 2 unmarked police vehicles are never discreet. You are there to look for one secondary 3 student. You are not there to apprehend an adult suspect with full ability to escape or capable in single combat.
The full letter can be found on The Online Citizen.
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