Police NSF Lost S$10K To Job Scam & Expressed Suicidal Thoughts Prior To Death
Back in Aug 2021, a full-time police national serviceman (NSF), Mr Finnegan Tan Yao Jie, was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head at the Special Operations Command (SOC) building.
Police NSF Found Dead In Toilet With Gunshot Wound, No Foul Play Suspected
About 1.5 years have come and gone since then, and more information has also come to the fore.
On Wednesday (1 Feb), the coroner’s court heard that Mr Tan had lost about S$10,000 in a job scam and previously expressed suicidal thoughts to family members and a colleague.
At the time of the incident, his supervisor was assessing if he should be barred from firearms, reported Channel NewsAsia (CNA).
Police NSF died from gunshot wound
21-year-old Mr Tan was found dead in a toilet cubicle at SOC on 30 Aug 2021. A revolver drawn from the police armoury was with him.
On Wednesday (1 Feb), the inquiry into his death was opened.
An investigating officer shared that witnesses heard a gunshot but there was no one else in the toilet when Mr Tan is believed to have fired the shot to his head.
Upon discovering his body, officers at the scene shouted for help and trained medics went to his aid. However, no pulse was detected.
When paramedics arrived shortly after, Mr Tan was declared dead.
Expressed suicidal thoughts
The investigating officer revealed that prior to the incident, Mr Tan made a private Instagram post saying he was going to die.
He mentioned several reasons that he wanted to kill himself for. These included him being cheated of his father’s money.
Mr Tan had earlier made a police report saying he was a victim of an e-commerce job scam.
He lost over S$10,200 — S$7,000 of which was borrowed from his father.
Mr Tan also showed signs of suicidal ideation in conversations with his sister and cousin.
During Chinese New Year (CNY) back in Feb 2021, he had asked his sister what she would do if he was gone or dead.
According to CNA, he did not elaborate and his sister did not probe further into the matter.
Mr Tan also grew upset over “trivial matters” at a Chinese New Year gathering.
On the roof with his cousin, Mr Tan shared that he contemplated suicide six months prior.
Mr Tan said he wanted to take his own life but his cousin took it as “just a conversation” and did not think much of it.
After getting scammed, Mr Tan shared with his father about seeing a psychiatrist.
At that time, he was “very upset” about making the mistake but was brushed off.
Mr Tan’s laptop web history also revealed that months before the incident, he searched for suicide, shooting with gloves, and how to write a will.
Supervisors considered barring him from firearms
When Mr Tan’s police force supervisors learned about the scam, they considered barring him from firearms.
But the case did not fit into the category of “financial embarrassment”, which involves a person who owes money they cannot pay off.
In mid-2021, a colleague heard Mr Tan shouting in a SOC restroom that he almost killed himself the day before.
The reason for the outburst remains unknown. Nonetheless, the colleague reported this to his supervisor.
During this time, Mr Tan was about to attend a course, where he would not be armed for a few weeks. After the course, he was to be transferred to another troop.
The new troop’s supervisor was informed of the shouting incident.
The supervisor, who was trained in providing psychological support and giving appropriate assessments, observed that he did not appear to be having suicidal ideation. He also did not seem to be depressed.
The supervisor then asked team members to look after him.
He was still in the midst of deciding whether to bar Mr Tan from firearms when the incident occurred.
The investigating officer was asked to present further documents such as those explaining the Instagram post as well as if there were any changes in standard operating procedures since the accident.
Findings from the coroner’s court will be given at a later date.
If you or anyone you know may be struggling with mental health, do consider calling helplines like the SAF Hotline (For SAF Personnel) at 1800 278 0022 or the Samaritans of Singapore at 1800-221 4444.
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